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Turnpike To Go After Toll Violators Following Newswatch 16 Investigation

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.

2 comments

  • Mark

    Massachusetts just went all E-ZPass on their turnpike. If you don’t have E-ZPass, they’ll just scan your license plate and mail you the bill. The price difference is incentive enough to go with E-ZPass the next time.

    No need for Pennsylvania to go after drivers by suspending their license — how will they use the Turnpike and pay tolls? Nor is there a need to keep toll plaza cashiers on payroll whose function has already been replaced with automation. Our commonwealth just needs to get with the times.

  • I pay taxes too

    Kudos to WNEP. My follow up question (directed to turnpike leadership) is why were you so lazy??

    Why did it take a news report to make you do your job?

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