What happens if you do not pay a toll in New York?

If you do not pay a toll in New York for one reason or the other, the authorities will issue a registration suspension. Registration suspension is nothing new in New York State. In fact, hundreds of drivers are issued suspensions daily for violating toll rules regardless of whether they have an E-Z Pass or not. The authorities have put modalities in place to help violators address their registration suspensions.

Registration suspension for violators who do not pay tolls in New York

For those who don’t know what a registration suspension is, under Section 510(3) D of the Vehicle and Traffic Law and Part 127 of New York State, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is empowered to suspend your vehicle’s registration. This suspension is issued if you do not pay your tolls or the charges attached to 3 or more violations over a 5-year period.  The tolling authority’s regulation may report such violations to the DMV for unpaid tolls and charges amounting to about $200 or more during this period.

Often, motorists who have EZ Pass accounts complain about their suspended registration, but what you need to know is that your registration is liable for suspension even if you have an active EZ Pass account. Having an account doesn’t shield you from committing EZ Pass violations. What shields you from running afoul of the law is to ensure that your account is sufficiently credited to cover tolling fees when on the road. Furthermore, if your motor registration is suspended, driving the vehicle is considered a legal demeanor, which may lead to a fine or imprisonment or in worse case scenarios, both.

Which body issues a toll violation?

The body charged with the responsibility of issuing toll violations is the tolling authorities, and they consist of the:

  • New York State Thruway Authority
  • Metropolitan Transportation Authority(MTA)
  • Port Authority of New York

What should my response be if I get a message from the tolling authority?

If you get a message from any of the above-listed bodies concerning a toll suspension, you can reach out to any of their Customer Care agents over the phone. When you contact their agents, they will provide you with an updated detail of your EZ Pass violation. On receiving this information you may either choose to pay the toll penalty or dispute the charge. You must address all disputes to the appropriate body listed on the suspension notice, and not the DMV. Here are the hotlines of New York State’s Tolling Authorities.

  • New York State Thruway Authority (718-313-9414)
  • Metropolitan Transportation Authority (718-313-9424)
  • New York Port Authority (718-313-9425)

Also Read: What happens if my EZ Pass doesn’t work in New York?

How to avoid New York Toll Violations

Even though the government of New York has made it quite easy for toll offenders to pay toll fines and move on with their lives, finding oneself in such a situation is not ideal. Toll violations can be quite costly. What would have cost you a few dollars in toll fees may eventually cost you ten times the amount owed to the State as fines. If you don’t want to fall into the trap like thousands of other motorists who pay thousands of dollars in fines every year, you need to be a lot smarter and careful when driving through toll gates. Follow these guidelines below to avoid toll violations that will cost you money to settle.

  • Know your route well: Before you embark on a trip, plan for it in advance. If you know that your intended route has a toll on the way, make sure that you have the cash or EZPass balance to pay the toll. Having sufficient funds will help you avoid payment default. If you know that you will be passing through more than one toll gate on your trip, calculate the total toll charges to be sure. Also, plan for your return trip if necessary.
  • Plan for eventualities: If you are not very familiar with the route you intend to ply through, go online to find out if there is a toll along the way. Besides, have some dollars in your pocket even if you do not plan to use a toll road at all as you never know what exigency lies in wait. Having cash in hand or a credit balance in your EZ pass account will enable you to pay for toll fares in case there is any need to use an EZ Pass lane that you never planned for.
  • Use the Toll signs more: If you reach a toll plaza while driving with the aid of your car’s GPS, switch your attention away from the GPS to the Toll signs. Using the correct lane is essential if you don’t want to cop a violation, and GPS systems can be misleading when at toll plazas. Furthermore, keep a close eye on roundabouts or U-turns you make and avoid making them on the EZPass lanes. Making turns on such lanes will attract a violation notice.

The good thing about getting a violation notice is that it does not soil your driving records; neither does it affect your insurance. However, you may likely not win a dispute. The best thing to do in such a situation is to pay the toll fee and learn from your mistake. Just make sure that you practice defensive driving when on the road and drive responsibly. If you do receive a violation notice, you will need to credit your EZ Pass account to enable you to pay the fine.

To pay tolls online, simply visit the E-Z Pass Website to access relevant information on how to pay online. On the website, you can also check your toll violation status or the outcome of your resolution attempt.