Habitual violators, flagrant violators, and super scofflaws are many of the names that tolling agencies have titled motorists who rack up large amounts in toll violations and fail to pay for extended period of time. So, how does an agency collect from these violators when regular violation notices and collection efforts have gone uncollected?
In Texas, toll authorities now have the many tools to tackle flagrant violators. For example, TxDOT publishes a "top 25 violators" list on their website that shows:
- Owner (and co-owner)
- Unpaid toll transactions
- Total amount of tolls and fees owed
In addition to this list, TxDOT has the authority to ban vehicles from using toll roads. These vehicles can be ticketed and impounded if stopped by law enforcement. Finally, TxDOT can report the habitual violators to county tax assessors-collectors to block renewal of the vehicle registration.
Below are some additional examples of techniques that agencies are using to deter flagrant violator and collect the outstanding tolls and fees:
- The North Texas Tollway Authority served more than 500 habitual violators and banned them from using the roadways. If they are found using the roadway, then they can be issued a Class C misdemeanor citation, then the vehicle can be impounded by law enforcement.
- In Fort Bend County, Texas, near real-time data of flagrant violators traversing toll lanes are relayed to law enforcement PDAs on the roadway to alert officers.
- The Florida Department of Transportation uses the Uniform Traffic Citation, which states if a reply is not received within 30 days of issue date, a traffic citation may be issued that could include additional fees.
- The Illinois Tollway has a timeline that shows the aging of the toll violation enforcement from initial occurrence to garnishment of wages. In addition, they also publish a “Super Scofflaws” list.
These are just a handful of agencies utilizing various techniques to deter flagrant violators and to collect outstanding funds. Technology affords the agency the transactional data including vehicle images to produce violation notices that most motorist pay. For the drivers that don't pay, state and local legislation provides the toll authority the teeth to pursue these scofflaws and recoup monies owed. What is the impact of these programs on flagrant violators? Since the programs are new, only time will tell. RS&H will continue track the progress of these programs in follow up articles.