TARRYTOWN, NY -- To combat the growing problem of toll evasion, Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) today outlined a comprehensive 4-Point Plan to crack down on toll evaders along New York’s vast network of roads, bridges, and tunnels. At a press conference at the Tarrytown Toll Plaza overlooking the Tappan Zee Bridge, the Senator discussed various measures that will ultimately serve as an effective deterrent to protect law-abiding commuters and save money.
“Driving is a privilege, not a right, and this plan of action will ensure that everyone pays their fair share for using our public roadways,” said Senator Carlucci. “For far too long, those of us who do follow the law have been shouldering the burden, picking the tab for those who skirt the system. Enough is enough – it’s time we recoup the money that is owed so that law-abiding citizens do not share this burden alone.”
Working alongside New York State Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Charles Fuschillo (R-Merrick) and other colleagues, the Senator plans to introduce the full package in January for the beginning of the legislative session. Specifically, the plan will:
1) Enact Stiffer Penalties
Add theft of transportation services, specifically evasion of tolls, to the existing crime of theft of services. This will ensure that any individual who accrues more than $1,000 in unpaid tolls would face felony charges, similar to grand larceny.
2) Streamline the Administrative Process
Currently, authorities must go through a burdensome and chaotic process to have an individual’s registration suspended. In order for this to occur, an individual must receive five separate notices of violation or fail to appear in court within an 18 month cycle. Only after this lengthy period, a public authority must then appear before a court or administrative tribunal and petition the Department of Motor Vehicle to suspend that individual's vehicle registration.
Under the Senator's proposal, the public authority will instead be allowed to directly petition the DMV without having to go through a court or administrative tribunal, saving both time and money. The plan would also reduce the number of violations within an 18 month period that would trigger a registration suspension from the current five down to two.
3) Getting Plate Flippers Off the Road
This plan will ensure that no drivers within New York State will have the ability to use devices with the sole intent of evading camera detection at a toll plaza. This plan will create a new misdemeanor offense of blocking or hiding one’s license plate for the purpose of evading tolls.
4) Doubling the Fines for Evasion
This plan will double each of the fines imposed by toll collecting agencies for toll evaders. For example, for a third violation, the fine would double the amount from $150 to $300 within an 18-month period. And for the first time, it will also allow that toll collecting agency to keep half of this penalty on top of toll and administrative fees, instead of being diverted into the state's general fund.
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