PDA

View Full Version : Missed paying a toll - what willl they do to us?


Cat Whisperer
05-16-2008, 09:59 PM
On our escape from Chicago, we ran into some confusing signage and missed paying at a toll booth. What happens now - are we going to get a bill in the mail or something for this approximately $1 toll? Should we be expecting State Troopers to show up at our door with extradition orders some day in the near future? Oh yeah, we're from Alberta, with an Alberta plate on the car, of course (to go along with our fake Canadian driver's licenses. :D )

ladyfoxfyre
05-16-2008, 10:04 PM
Typically if they have any sort of camera equipment, they'll just track you down and send you a ticket in the mail. Keep an eye out for it ;)

Cat Whisperer
05-16-2008, 10:06 PM
What kind of ticket are we talking about here? If we go pay it online quickly, can we avoid an expensive ticket?

Duckster
05-16-2008, 10:13 PM
WAG.

Well, on the one hand, nothing will happen.

But, on the other hand, your license plate was photographed. Once the processing is complete, the system will determine you are a foreigner and no bill, plus fine, will be sent to you. That's because the statistics show that the actual cost recovery from foreign scallywags far exceeds the actual bill, plus fine.

However, your license details, identification and scoflaw information will be transmitted to ICE (http://www.ice.gov/). So the next time you enter the USA, you will either be denied entrance (permanently), or allowed to enter the USA unencumbered (Well, for the first one mile, after which you will be stopped by ICE, searched, handcuffed, drugged and flown to Gitmo for additional interrogation.)

Beyond that, I got nothing.

Fear Itself
05-16-2008, 10:15 PM
This happened to me in New Hampshire. They sent me a ticket for $25 which I paid online. The picture of my car was on the ticket.

Arnold Winkelried
05-16-2008, 11:12 PM
This happened to me and my wife a couple of years ago on a California toll road. My wife forgot to stop at the booth and we just breezed on by without doing the detour to throw in our money. We never got anything in the mail. (I don't think that this is typical, but that's what the result of our transgression was.)

Nowadays, with a California FasTrack card in your car, you can associate several license plate numbers with the same FasTrack card. You are supposed to move the FasTrack card to the car that is going on the toll road, but if you forget, they will take a picture, match the license plate number to their database, and put the charge on the FasTrack account for that car.

Shagnasty
05-16-2008, 11:30 PM
You have license plates from Alberta. Nobody knows what that is but most people in the U.S. would just assume a feisty old lady has vanity plates. I would assume that nothing will happen.

However, if the CIA, FBI, or Illinois National Guard get involved then all bets are off. With a good lawyer, the penalty could be as little as a lifetime ban from the U.S. If you ever think about the term "illegal alien" then just look in the mirror. That is you.

Mycroft H.
05-16-2008, 11:54 PM
Damn Canadian troublemakers! You create extra work for State Troopers, lurk suspiciously along streets of Minneapolis (and suburbs!), cause confusion among poor beer-sellers and now this! :D

You really have had some adventures! I heard years ago on the radio that an isolated incident of not paying would not be pursued. The context of the report was that if a person got to an automatic toll and didnít have the money, the road authorities would rather you drove though the toll booth instead of holding up traffic. I donít know if this attitude still holds true though.

There is an online method of paying tolls found here (http://www.illinoistollway.com/portal/page?_pageid=133,1407950&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL). I have not checked it too much, but it seems as is they are pretty relaxed about a single missed payment, but would still like you to pay.

My opinion (free and worth the price) is that with out-of-country plates, donít bother. I canít imagine them even bothering to send it to a collections agency for a dollar.

I hope the trip back was uneventful.

Spoons
05-17-2008, 04:03 AM
Featherlou, my advice would be to watch your mail when you get home, and if you get a bill, pay it. Yes, it will be a bit of a PITA since they probably won't accept a cheque drawn on a Canadian bank, but you can buy a US dollar money order. A little expensive perhaps, but probably worth it in the long run. And if nothing arrives in the mail, don't sweat it. I cannot imagine that the state of Illinois has enough clout in Washington that it can persuade the US government to declare you persona non grata at the border for failing to pay a one dollar road toll.

Pasta
05-17-2008, 04:59 AM
I believe there is a number for Chicagoland tolls that you can call to pay up if you missed one.

ävejk
05-17-2008, 05:29 AM
If your not posting from Guantanamo yet you'll probably be fine. :)

Jinx
05-17-2008, 07:31 AM
FYI: A bill in the mail might come under a letterhead using a logo from the speed pass company, and not the toll authority, themselves. I was misled by a letter from E-Z pass (used on the east coast) when I was expecting a letter from the toll authority. I thought this was simply a statement of my account, and I put it aside. I think it is wrong they use the logo in this way (as the layman would not see it as a symbol of authority), and I fought the additional late fees.

However, please learn from my mistake...check your mail. And, anything even looking like an innocent statement from any toll-related entity should be opened ASAP!

Cat Whisperer
05-17-2008, 09:58 AM
I tried to pay online, but you can't use that option if you're from outside of the United States. Oh well. If we get the ticket in the mail, I'll just go draw a USD money order like I did for our speeding ticket from Idaho. All this fuss for a $1 toll - we had no intention of not paying, but like I said, between the construction and the confusing signage it just happened.

(Heh - I hadn't thought about it like that, Mycroft. I think it would have been cool to go inside the Paisley Park gates and get escorted out by Prince's security guards, but it's probably for the best that we didn't. :) )

pulykamell
05-17-2008, 10:02 AM
I tried to pay online, but you can't use that option if you're from outside of the United States. Oh well. If we get the ticket in the mail, I'll just go draw a USD money order like I did for our speeding ticket from Idaho. All this fuss for a $1 toll - we had no intention of not paying, but like I said, between the construction and the confusing signage it just happened.

(Heh - I hadn't thought about it like that, Mycroft. I think it would have been cool to go inside the Paisley Park gates and get escorted out by Prince's security guards, but it's probably for the best that we didn't. :) )

There's also an address for paying missed tolls on the website linked to earlier. You have seven days from the missed toll to send them the buck.

Balthisar
05-17-2008, 12:30 PM
Back in November 2005, I did the same thing -- not intentionally, mind you. Nothing ever came of it. I did email the turnpike people, and they gave me some instructions to pay, but I never did that either. Seemed like to much of a burden for a lousy buck (paperwork, envelope, going to buy a stamp, etc.). If they'd make things clearer for visitors, this'd never happen.

lobotomyboy63
05-17-2008, 01:03 PM
On some roads here in DFW they mail you the bill. Someone from DFW will clarify if I'm wrong, but there are parts of 121 where they send everybody a bill---assuming you don't have the electronic device that they use in billing---because there is no booth. The road signs indicate it's now a tollway (past a certain exit) and that's it.

I always wondered how they get money from out-of-staters or better yet, people like the OP from another country.

HongKongFooey
05-17-2008, 01:12 PM
I missed a toll in New Jersey our last trip down and nothing ever happened, same thing, construction area with confusing signage. I joked with my wife that we would just pay double on the way back. I don't think you'll find anything will happen. Conversely, I've known Americans who failed to pay tolls or parking tickets while visiting here and nothing happened to them either. It doesn't seem to be worth the time or expense.

Loach
05-17-2008, 01:33 PM
As a police officer I have no way to look up a Canadian plate. I have no idea if agencies closer to the border have a system set up. I have a feeling that they won't even bother with a Canadian plate.

On 9-11-01 I was heading to my National Guard armory on the Garden State Parkway. I was basically alone on the road and the tollbooth collectors just waved me through when they saw my uniform. I got in the wrong lane for one and went through the easypass lane (didn't have one at the time). I got a letter a few weeks later with a picture of my car going through the toll. It threatened me with a fine of something like $25. I sent in a check for 25 cents with a note explaining things and I never heard back. No warrants were issued for my arrest so I guess its OK.

Spoons
05-17-2008, 01:51 PM
On some roads here in DFW they mail you the bill. Someone from DFW will clarify if I'm wrong, but there are parts of 121 where they send everybody a bill---assuming you don't have the electronic device that they use in billing---because there is no booth. The road signs indicate it's now a tollway (past a certain exit) and that's it.

I always wondered how they get money from out-of-staters or better yet, people like the OP from another country.Highway 407 in southern Ontario workes the same way, but they do manage to bill out-of-province and certain American cars that use the road. From the Wikipedia entry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highway_407_%28Ontario%29) on Highway 407:

For drivers without transponders, the automatic number plate recognition system is linked to several provincial and U.S. state motor vehicle registries. Currently only Ontario, Quebec, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, New York, Maryland, Maine, Georgia and possibly several adjacent states and provinces provide 407 ETR access to their registry databases due to the privacy laws of these states. This has resulted in untold numbers of motorists from other jurisdictions being able to travel on 407 ETR without receiving a bill.The entry is poorly written and not very clear, but obviously, arrangements can be made with other jurisdictions to provide billing information. Some jurisdictions won't cooperate, and I have no idea what happens if the billed car in the cooperating provinces/states doesn't pay up, but it does seem that there are instances when the road authorities in one jurisdiction can make arrangements with other jurisdictions (including those in another country) to get the information necessary for billing.

Jackmannii
05-17-2008, 04:10 PM
in featherlou's case, I'd definitely contact the toll authority and see about sending in the buck. Any ticket will be for a lot more than that, and you'd don't know what kind of pain in the ass the authorities can create for you, "alien" or not.

If you do make a good faith effort to pay and still get a ticket anyway, you might be able to appeal it due to the bad signage.

A few years ago I was heading to Newark (NJ) airport in a rental car, threw my quarter into the collection bucket at the toll plaza, and was rewarded by a continuous red light (my quarter hadn't registered). I didn't have another quarter handy, i was well beyond the collection point, cars were starting to back up behind me, there was no place to pull over and I didn't want to stop, fish for change and risk Jersey Driver Wrath. So I went on through, and months later got notice that I'd been ticketed, plus a nice credit card surcharge with penalties from Dollar Rent A Car, with the explanation that I could get it refunded if N.J. rescinded the ticket. N.J., bless its heart, did accept my explanation and canceled the ticket. Dollar Rent A Car, on the other hand, fought and bitched for a long time before refunding my money.

So the moral of the story is, sometimes even toll authorities have a heart, and oh yeah, Dollar Rent A Car sucks.

Balthisar
05-17-2008, 06:01 PM
Highway 407 in southern Ontario workes the same way, but they do manage to bill out-of-province and certain American cars that use the road. From the Wikipedia entry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highway_407_%28Ontario%29) on Highway 407:
This is the one I did pay. (Being from Michigan, I'm in the affected group.) When I was reading up on how to pay on the 407ETR website, it indicated (maybe not correctly) that they'd bill in every state and province.

I am irked that they have a manual verification system instead of, say, computer recognition. A whole $5 for video billing (i.e., non-transponder billing)? That's ridiculous. Luckily it was on business, and so my company paid the $45 for the two days of use (and then told me not to use it!).

Cat Whisperer
05-17-2008, 11:32 PM
Hmm - we can probably mail the cash while we're still in the US - thanks for the tip, puly - I missed that on my first perusal of the site. Now, if we can just figure out which toll location it was (I'm looking at the map for the tolls, and none of them sound right. I think it was the first toll on the way out of town on Highway #88 heading west. Maybe we'll just send them $2 and a general idea of where we were. :) )

Gorsnak
05-17-2008, 11:40 PM
Use of unnecessary violence in the apprehension of featherlou has been approved. [/police dispatcher from Blues Brothers]

Mr. Rosewater
05-18-2008, 01:24 AM
I once had to go through a toll plaza without paying. There were no booths being manned at the time and I had run out of change. I noticed a phone number on the change basket and called it when I got home, and they told me I could mail in a check for the amount of the toll (40 cents at the time), but that they weren't really interested in someone who goes through a toll without paying on one occasion. They had much bigger fish to fry with the people who go through the tolls twice a day for years. In fact they said they didn't even send a ticket for fewer than five missed tolls.

I mailed them a 40 cent check, but I think you are in the clear should you not want to pay.

If you do want to pay and the toll-free (ha) number (877-715-1235) doesn't work for you, you can always stop by at tollway headquarters at 2700 Ogden Ave. in Downers Grove and pay in person.

Additional tolls may be incurred in getting yourself to Downers Grove, though.

ETA- It was nice meeting you while you were in town. Come back and visit us again. :)

Cat Whisperer
05-18-2008, 09:23 AM
Use of unnecessary violence in the apprehension of featherlou has been approved. [/police dispatcher from Blues Brothers]
Hey! No unnecessary force is necessary. We'll go quiet, officer. We are Canadians after all.

R. P. McMurphy
05-18-2008, 02:30 PM
Damn Canadian troublemakers! You create extra work for State Troopers, lurk suspiciously along streets of Minneapolis (and suburbs!), cause confusion among poor beer-sellers and now this! :D

You really have had some adventures! I heard years ago on the radio that an isolated incident of not paying would not be pursued. The context of the report was that if a person got to an automatic toll and didnít have the money, the road authorities would rather you drove though the toll booth instead of holding up traffic. I donít know if this attitude still holds true though.

There is an online method of paying tolls found here (http://www.illinoistollway.com/portal/page?_pageid=133,1407950&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL). I have not checked it too much, but it seems as is they are pretty relaxed about a single missed payment, but would still like you to pay.

My opinion (free and worth the price) is that with out-of-country plates, donít bother. I canít imagine them even bothering to send it to a collections agency for a dollar.

I hope the trip back was uneventful.

Gotta watch those Canadians. 80% of them live within 50 miles of the US border. That tells me that they're planning an invasion.

Maybe the Yankees don't track down the Canucks but the reverse is not the same. I happened to use the 407 without a transponder and got sent a bill for $7.50. They tracked a New York plate. At first I ignored it and they persisted. I paid it because I may want to drive in Canada again without there being an APB out on me.

BTW, where's Canada's version of Gitmo?

Spoons
05-18-2008, 02:43 PM
Maybe the Yankees don't track down the Canucks but the reverse is not the same. I happened to use the 407 without a transponder and got sent a bill for $7.50. They tracked a New York plate. At first I ignored it and they persisted. I paid it because I may want to drive in Canada again without there being an APB out on me.Aw, that's just the 407. If it's the same as it was when I lived in Ontario, they were best known for lousy customer service and severe collection practices--they'll spend a lot more than that $7.50 to collect it. But they'll add on a mess of "administrative fees," "late payment fees," and interest to make up for it. And yes, as I demonstrated above, the 407 has an agreement with New York State to collect toll fees from New Yorkers.

BTW, where's Canada's version of Gitmo?Well, it sure isn't on a hot, sunny Caribbean island. In Canada, I've heard that good behaviour is rewarded with a nice, warm blanket. :D

The Tao's Revenge
05-18-2008, 03:20 PM
On our escape from Chicago, we ran into some confusing signage and missed paying at a toll booth. What happens now - are we going to get a bill in the mail or something for this approximately $1 toll? Should we be expecting State Troopers to show up at our door with extradition orders some day in the near future? Oh yeah, we're from Alberta, with an Alberta plate on the car, of course (to go along with our fake Canadian driver's licenses. :D )


Prolly get a letter in the mail congratulating you on for surviving Chicago.

Gorsnak
05-18-2008, 03:29 PM
BTW, where's Canada's version of Gitmo?
Alert (http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=alert,+nunavut&ie=UTF8&ll=76.016094,-66.445312&spn=48.631648,189.492188&t=h&z=3&iwloc=addr)

Musicat
05-18-2008, 04:18 PM
I am a fugitive from Kansas.

Late at night, in a small, remote toll plaza, I pulled up to a tollbooth only to find that there was no one in the booth and no automatic toll taking machines. What do you do when you try to hand over the toll but there's no one to take it?

So I got out of my car and walked to the next manned booth, explained my dilemna and offered the toll amount. The toll taker, obviously a well-trained government employee in every sense of the word, refused, saying, "I only take tolls for THIS booth, not that one."

Now cars were piling up behind mine, so I couldn't back out and go to a different lane. In disgust, I drove away. About a mile down the road a cop was waiting. I told him my story, and he drove me back to the tollbooth.

The operator I had words with recognized me, but said I had been in an "unauthorized" lane. I offered again to pay the toll, but the cop wrote me a ticket instead. When I said I wouldn't pay it, he threatened to put me in jail right there. "Oh, you mean THAT ticket? Why, sure, I'll mail a check," so he let me go with a warning that an arrest warrant would be issued if I didn't pay.

I didn't pay. So I now assume Kansas has me on their Most Wanted list. At the top, I hope. I don't plan to set foot in Kansas ever again in my lifetime, so it's not a big worry.

Looking back on the incident, I think what happened was a toll booth op went for a bathroom break, forgot to put the orange cones out to show the lane was closed and I blundered into it. I wonder what the people behind me did -- did they all get tickets, too?

pmwgreen
05-18-2008, 06:38 PM
In fact they said they didn't even send a ticket for fewer than five missed tolls.

This is my understanding. One of my co-workers sent out out a general email complaining about harrassment from the IDOT for unpaid tolls and I asked him how many tolls he had missed. It got quite heated, and he never answered the question, but I'm thinking it was a lot more than five.

Anywho, the Illinois DOT has a phone number on the website of 1-800-824-7277 to pay by phone. You could try that.

ishamael69
05-19-2008, 11:30 AM
Former Illinois State Toll Highway Authority employee checking in here... First, don't bother contacting IDOT, they aren't related to the Tollway, except that both are in Illinois and manage roads. It looks like you've already tried the online route, which is here (http://www.illinoistollway.com/portal/page?_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&_pageid=133,1407950). Since you couldn't pay that way, you might want to call the Tollway at (630) 241-6800, and ask for violations. They should be able to get you paid up pretty quickly.

To address some other items listed in various postings (note that the comments below are not aimed at any posters, just general clarifications): The Illinois Tollway sends out its own bills, so it should be coming from there and not some other entity. Violations are (I believe, but don't quote me): $20 + toll for first billing, $75 + toll if you don't pay after a certain number of days.

It is absolutely illegal to run a toll even once, you don't have to run it 5 times before it becomes illegal. (Maybe I should open a GD about why people think it is okay to steal from the Toll Authority but not from the grocery store...) If you DO run one 5 times, expect to see a bill for $100 + the cost of tolls. This bill will escalate to a much higher amount if you ignore it. ISTM that it would be much easier to either pay the toll when you go through, pay using the missed toll system, or even pay the first violation at $20 rather than $100 for 5 or $200 for 10, etc. However, the Tollway had some offenders with huge bills (over $10,000) when I was working there, so something might be flawed with my reasoning. Keep in mind that if you don't pay the Tollway can also suspend your license and/or your tags (not sure if they can do this in Canada, but they were definately able to in Illinois and several other states).

Problems with the toll booths do happen. Each plaza has several cameras and a couple of methods to detect cars. Usually on IL's system the computer will detect a problem, shut down the lane, and remove missed toll notices automatically. However, as with all systems, I'm sure that some slip by. While license plates are OCRed, violations are also manually inspected to ensure the computer caught the plate correctly.

Toll collectors on the Illinois Tollway should be relieved by another toll collector or manager if they need to use the restroom. There are quite a few unmanned plazas with only coin baskets, but they are clearly marked as such everywhere I've ever seen them, and are also detailed on the freely available map (http://www.illinoistollway.com/portal/page?_pageid=133,1495438&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL).

If you let me know exactly what signage was confusing, I will try to pass that along to someone inside. They have done a lot of research and work to make the signs as clear as possible.

Drum God
05-19-2008, 12:30 PM
Last summer, I rented a car from Enterprise at MDW. On the way to the hotel, I ran a toll booth. I stopped, but it was an unmanned booth and I didn't have change -- I had lots of money, but no coins. I sat for a moment, but figured the situation wasn't going to change with my sitting there, so I moved on.

When I returned the car, I told the guy at Enterprise about it, figuring they would get the bill. He said not to worry about it. In almost eleven months now, I have not heard a thing about it. Enterprise, however, did give me up to the Chicago Board of Revenue. I ran a red-light camera on Halsted. Oops. I got the bill several months later.

Pixilated
05-19-2008, 04:05 PM
I am a fugitive from Kansas.

I lived in KS, not a fugitive. But a few yrs back when I went back for a wedding, the driver had missed a toll in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I called the OK toll office and explained what happened and they gave me the address to send the toll and told me to write my plate number, make & model. Never received a fine or anything - they were really understanding considering I was not from the area and we paid all the other ones.

I'm thinking if you contact them they are a lot friendlier than if you ignore it and take your chances on whether or not you 'get caught'.

jtgain
05-19-2008, 04:28 PM
Florida has an increasing system from a warning for the 1st offense up to a $100 fine for the SIXTH offense. That doesn't keep them from putting up road signs saying "TOLL VIOLATIONS $100!!"

I ran a toll booth when my SunPass had ran out of batteries. I got a notice in the mail to pay my 25 cents. I had to mail in a check for 25 cents with a 39 cent stamp affixed to the letter. I was pissed at that..

Martin Hyde
05-19-2008, 07:22 PM
As a police officer I have no way to look up a Canadian plate. I have no idea if agencies closer to the border have a system set up. I have a feeling that they won't even bother with a Canadian plate.

On 9-11-01 I was heading to my National Guard armory on the Garden State Parkway. I was basically alone on the road and the tollbooth collectors just waved me through when they saw my uniform. I got in the wrong lane for one and went through the easypass lane (didn't have one at the time). I got a letter a few weeks later with a picture of my car going through the toll. It threatened me with a fine of something like $25. I sent in a check for 25 cents with a note explaining things and I never heard back. No warrants were issued for my arrest so I guess its OK.

Did they cash your check? :p

GameHat
05-19-2008, 08:38 PM
At least in the past in Chicagoland there's a minimum you have to hit before they bother trying to collect.

One time when I was younger I had to drive from Chicago to Madison. I had zero money on me and no way to get any, so I just figured I'd bite the bullet and drive through all the iPass tolls. If I got a ticket, so be it. I'd deal with that when I had access to money.

I ran probably 4 tolls and never heard a thing.

If you're still worried, you could always just pay the toll online (http://www.illinoistollway.com/portal/page?_pageid=133,1407950&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL)

BarnOwl
05-19-2008, 08:54 PM
About a year or two ago, the wife and I accidentally ran a toll in Maryland, I think.

Never heard squat.

Cat Whisperer
05-20-2008, 10:56 AM
<snip>
If you're still worried, you could always just pay the toll online (http://www.illinoistollway.com/portal/page?_pageid=133,1407950&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL)
And as I've already said, we can't pay online if we're from outside the US (and Canada still counts for that). :) I'd have paid this stupid thing days ago if I had that option.

The toll was in the middle of a construction zone (which, as far as we can tell, covers about eight states now :D ), and the signage sending you off for cash said "Toll - Cash*" and "Exit for Interstate 83*" (I think that was the road). At one point the signs stopped saying "Cash" and just said "Exit for Interstate 83" - we didn't want to get off the road we were on, so we figured between the construction and the exits, the toll was shut down. As we drove past the cash booths, we realized that we had missed the tollbooths that everyone else was stopped at. I don't know if my description is making clear the utter confusion of trying to figure this all out in heavy traffic in a construction zone at 65 miles an hour, but trust me, we had no intention of missing the toll and still missed it.

Well, we'll be home Wednesay, so maybe I'll try calling Chicago then. Thanks, everyone, for trying to help clear this up.

*Paraphrasing from memory

WhyNot
05-20-2008, 12:07 PM
And as I've already said, we can't pay online if we're from outside the US (and Canada still counts for that). :) I'd have paid this stupid thing days ago if I had that option.
Hon, if you want to email me whatever info I need for the site, I'll pay your toll online for you. As Tevye would say (or was it a chicken?), it's a blessing for me to give it to you. ;)

Looks like what I need is:
* Vehicle owner's name and contact information
* Vehicle license plate information - state, type*, number
* Date and time when the incident(s) occurred
* Identify road and Toll Plaza location(s) where the incident(s) occurred

*If you have specialty plates, (e.g., pet friendly, environmental...)this needs to be specified

If it's within 7 days, there's no penalty, just the cost of the toll.

jtgain
05-20-2008, 12:38 PM
If you cross a state border haven't you committed Interstate Flight to Avoid Prosecution? I will send you a carton of smokes to exchange for sexual favors while awaiting trial in the federal pokey. ;)