Taking a Toll: More Viewer Fee Stories

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Dick Johnson reports on a disturbing trend for IPass users. Officials with the Illinois Tollway confirm that 110 I-PASS customers were charged thousands of dollars in tolls for out-of-state trips they never took. This story first aired on August 27, 2012 at 10 p.m.

    Last night, Unit 5 introduced you to Carrie Halle, a “P” license plate owner, who was shocked when she saw her checking account statement on Friday.  “I had at least a dozen $40 charges in a row out of my checking account,” she said.

    Turns out they’re charges that originated from a semi-truck with her same license plate number going through tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  “I said I don't have a semi-truck and I haven't been driving outside of Illinois,” Halle said.

    After we ran her story, Don Cederberg came forward with a similar problem.  “For the last 13 months, I've been charged around $360 (in tolls)," He said. "(That's)  9 different auto-replenishes at $40 a piece,” he said.

    Turns out his wasn’t a “P” plate issue, but an unknown driver that was mistakenly linked to his I-Pass account.  “There's this joker running around and I'm paying for his tolls!” Cederberg said.

    Illinois Tollway Spokesperson Wendy Abrams says a total of 110 drivers have come forward complaining of being overcharged.  “We want to apologize to all of our customers who may have seen incorrect charges posted to their I-Pass accounts,” Abrams said.

    With a 7-digit limit, there’s only so many plate numbers available.  That means a number of semis have the same plate numbers as passenger cars.  Unfortunately, some out-of-state toll cameras can’t tell the difference.  “The machines there can't read license plate types.  They can only read license plate #'s,” Abrams said.

    David Drucker with the Secretary of State’s office (which assigns license plate numbers) says open-road tolling technology already exists that would fix this problem; it’s just a matter of using it.  “It would be good if the tollway authorities around the country were able to adapt and use the technology to pick up these different types of plates and innocent people wouldn't get caught up in this stuff,” Drucker said.