If you think you already pay enough to drive on the Tri-State, Jane Addams and Reagan Memorial Tollways, imagine receiving unpaid violations in the mail from toll roads you don’t even use.
Bryan, who asked that we not share his last name, owns a small business in Elgin and said he received numerous toll violations since May totaling more than $500 from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. However, Bryan told NBC 5 Responds he was nowhere near the Holland Tunnel or George Washington Bridge in New York during this time. He even showed us the tickets, which included a photo of a Enterprise rental van captured by a Port Authority toll camera.
“This was a vehicle that didn’t even belong to me,” Bryan said.
As far as the toll violations, Bryan said the letters he was receiving from the Port Authority were threatening him with collection if he didn’t pay.
Bryan said his calls to the Port Authority and Enterprise did not help clear his name.
“It was a lot to go through and I wasn’t getting anywhere,” Bryan said.
NBC 5 Responds then contacted the Port Authority and Enterprise. As a result, Bryan said he learned the rental van’s “B-Truck” Illinois license plate shared the same numbers as the Illinois license plate on a “junk” passenger vehicle his business once bought for parts. He said the vehicle is no longer registered with the state.
“If anybody had taken the time to look they could have seen the vehicle was salvaged and there was no possible way it could have been on the road,” Bryan said.
A spokesperson for the Port Authority said they do not publicly discuss matters involving E-ZPass or violation accounts. However, the spokesperson said when the agency learns that a violation notice has been sent erroneously, “we work quickly to resolve the situation.”
Indeed, Bryan eventually received a letter from the Port Authority advising him that the tolls and fees were dismissed and that no further action was required.
A spokesperson for Enterprise said the company had been in touch with Bryan and said it was working with the Port Authority to ensure liability will be transferred back to Enterprise so Bryan would not be responsible.
Bryan said he is using the incident as a learning experience and said Illinois drivers should always double-check toll violations that may arrive in the mail.
According to a spokesperson, Illinois Tollway handles about 2,000 instances annually in which a toll violation is dismissed because its image review resulted in a license plate number that did not match the registered owner of the vehicle. To improve accuracy, Illinois Tollway said it uses a “multiple match” system before a violation notice is issued. The system requires additional image reviews when there appears to be multiple license plates from the same state with the same numbers.
The Illinois Secretary of State office confirms multiple license plates can have the same numbers, but they are distinguished by plate types such as “truck” and “passenger”. A spokesperson also said tolling authorities should know the difference between plates.
However, the Illinois Secretary of State’s office urges drivers who believe they received erroneous toll violations to call them at 217-782-2975 or reach them online at www.cyberdriveillinois.com by clicking on “contact us” and then “license plate/vehicle registration”.