BEAR CREEK -- The governor has signed a new law that will allow the Pennsylvania Turnpike to go after toll cheats. It comes nearly a year after a Newswatch 16 investigation revealed the turnpike writing off millions of dollars from toll evaders last year.
It took Newswatch 16 less than 10 minutes at the Bear Creek Toll Plaza near Wilkes-Barre to find a driver traveling through the ticket-only toll booth, never grabbing the ticket. That driver's not alone.
A new law allows the state to suspend the vehicle registration of drivers with $500 or more in unpaid tolls or with six or more toll violations.
“That'll teach them not to do it! They don't have a car, they can't go through it. They'll think twice next time,” said one driver.
But the turnpike says of the top two dozen commercial violators, only some are from Pennsylvania. Most are actually from out of state, like New Jersey, Virginia, and beyond.
They collectively owe the Pennsylvania Turnpike more than $1.5 million in unpaid tolls and fees.
With the new law, however, the turnpike can now work with other states to more aggressively pursue those out-of-state toll cheats.
To do that, those states would need to sign an agreement with the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The penalty those out-of-state drivers would face by the turnpike would be the same penalty imposed by their home state.
Officials with the turnpike say they're already in talks with some states, like Maryland and Delaware, to go after some of those out-of-state toll violators. The law goes into effect in August.