If you can't pay on the turnpike....

…what happens next? Are you ticketed? Arrested on the spot? Cited and ordered to pay by X date, or you’ll have an arrest warrant issued for your ass? Forced to serve as a toll-taker until you’ve worked off the value of the toll?

Some of the tolls on the New York Thruway are pretty big. I wonder how often they have motorists who just don’t have the money when they pull up to the tollbooth?

Not a turnpike per se, but on the toll roads of Illinois I understand they don’t really track you down to pay, unless you really make a habit of running through the toll booths. Twice I have found myself at unmanned toll booths with absolutely no change on hand. The alarms went off and I’m assuming the cameras got a shot of my my license plate. But two years later, and so far no one has knocked on my door looking for that 40 cents. (I assume it’s one of those things they tack on to other offenses if you get stopped for a moving violation and they check your record).

Many years ago I found myself at the toll booth of the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel with no money at all. These booths were manned at the time. I was directed to the adjacent administration building. There, I was issued something similar to a traffic ticket for the value of the toll, which I had to pay via mail or in person by a certain date to avoid a fine.

Oh they hunt you down in California!!! Accidently got on a toll road… tried to exit to get out, didn’t have any change on me so I ran the booth… 2 weeks later got a ticket for $40 just because I didn’t have the in cash $1.30 on me!! They should make those things accept credit cards.

My BF went through this once. He didn’t have cash on him and they didn’t take plastic. They made him call his dad who had to drive about 100 miles to come out and pay the…5-6 bucks whatever it was.

I was near Chicago, in my big truck, and stopped at a toll booth to discover that I only had hundreds. The guy in the booth was a real jerk, made me wait while he called the cops. I told the cop that I’d thought I had some smaller bills, but was mistaken, and showed him the hundreds, he rolled his eyes at the toll taker and told me to go on about my way.

It depends on the state. In Illinois they’ll give you a self-addressed envelope to mail the toll in. No fine, no fee. They can suspend your license if you don’t pay up, though I don’t know how often it’s actually enforced. I would say you’re better off getting the envelope than just blowing through the toll-booth. I’ve known a few people that have gotten pulled over and fined for that.

I hear alot of Toll Authorities, if you are caught blowing through a toll booth, are now offering to put a portion of your fine towards an I-Pass/Ez-Pass if you haven’t already signed up for one.

In New York, your car will be photographed and you’ll get a bill in the mail. You’ll also get a fine added to the original toll but that might be avoidable if you go to make the payment before they contact you.

I was in Florida and left my hotel without my wallet. :smack:
I disocvered this when I pulled up to the toll both. :smack:
I explained just what an idiot I was and they took some info, and said have a nice day.
I guess as long as you don’t make it a habit, it cool down there. :cool:

Some Sonny Corleone advice.
If the toll takers suddenly duck down as you pull up to the window…hit the gas hard!

On the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey, they recently redesigned one toll booth area so that the EZPass lanes were all to the left of a median, and the cash/token lanes on the right.

At time of night I was going through it, I thought the division to the right looked like an exit, so I stayed left. My wife chastised me immediately.

About 2 weeks later, we got a letter from NJ stating that they caught our car going through EZPass without a transponder. On the return form, they provided a explanation blank. I filled that out and sent it back, along with a check for $0.35.

They accepted it and sent me an acknowledgement that everything was OK now.

Of course, they spent $0.74 postage on getting my $0.35. :rolleyes:

Tell the toll taker and you can get an envelope to send it in. I dont know about NY, but if PA gets a shot of your plate, I think you get a fine as well. They may not come to collect, but there may be implications when you go to get your registration renewed.

My friends had this happen to them on the Ohio Turnpike. They had to pull over and solicit a trucker parked on the other side of the booth for cash. I suspect if they weren’t able to get the cash they would have made them have someone bring it like Antinor01’s boyfriend had to do.

On a Missouri Turnpike, our caravan of two vehicles had to plead poverty, as we weren’t sure we were going to make it to Arizona with the cash we had with us. The Officials looked us over, then waved us through.

Here’s a twist on “can’t pay”:

I got on the 407, or whatever it is, (the ‘new’ toll road in Toronto) not realizing that there are no toll booths, it only collects with transponders. I had the money but “could not pay”. I had New York plates. I thought that with plates from another country, what could they do? A few months later I get a bill in the mail for about $6 and change. I ignore it. A couple of months later I get another bill with a little bit added on. I decide that they are serious. I occasionally need to drive in Canada and don’t want to get pulled over and spend some time in a Canadian courthouse.

I have to admire their ability to collect tolls but they sure aren’t very welcoming to foreigners.

I think that they are sending you the bill on the honor system, since they really can’t make out of province drivers from the states pay up, usually thats set up between the two jurisdictions , so that if you get a ticket in Florida, it applies to your Ontario licence, (thats an example only).

The only way for the corparation to get its money is through our registration and renewal system for the most part. Should your bill extend to thousands of Dollars, then a collection agency might be worth their time.


Which is a whole seperate legal problem.

Another thing that happens in Florida is that a lot of traffic backs up behind you and people become rabidly furious. So much so that they flip you off as they pass you; some people even shout things at you. Always remember, many Florida residents are armed and dangerous.

Florida here also. I have done it twice. The first time they actually let me right a check right there. The people behind me really didn’t like that. The second time they sent me a bill in the mail for $1, as I did not have my checkbook. That was actually much faster, as it only took me a minute or two.

Now I have a SunPass. Zoom, zoom right through the fast lane. Makes me feel special.

Heh, this one was on the ohio turnpike as well. Must be an Ohio thing…one more reason to be glad we moved. :slight_smile: