What happens if you don’t pay a toll

Pay toll

If you travel to the US from another country or even if you are heading interstate, it may be quite confusing to get familiar with all the toll procedures. Paying tolls requires some preparations, after all. Tolls are paid on a wide variety of roads in the entire country. Before you travel, it’s worth checking if you will have to pay them for any of the roads you are planning to use. There are also states like Idaho, Arizona, Montana, Wisconsin, and Tennessee that don’t currently charge any tolls. However, what will happen if you don’t pay a toll?

How to pay a toll?

Toll roads are roads that motorists pay a fee to use. There are three tolling systems in the US: barrier system (you pay a fixed time-based toll when you pass through the mainline toll booth), ticket system (you pay a toll based on your entry toll gantry and exit toll gantry combination), and distance-based system (you pay a fee that is based on the distance you travel on the designated toll road). Toll roads currently exist in 38 states. On average, the US toll rate is close to $5. There are many ways to pay tolls. The most popular are transponder tags and license plates. In some locations, you can still pay by cash, credit or debit card, as well as prepaid cards. Most motorists agree that the best option is to pay with a transponder tag as this method offers the most discounts.

Keep in mind that each state has a unique method of charging for the use of toll roads. Therefore, you should verify the details of the state you will be traveling to in order to familiarize yourself with the requirements. According to the Federal Highway Administration, the most expensive toll roads for passenger vehicles to drive are tunnels and bridges.

How to pay a toll online?

Paying tolls online is a snap. Depending on whether you have a transponder tag or not, you have two options. If you have a pass, you can just set automatic replenishment. You just need to link your pass to your credit or debit card and your account will be automatically replenished every time the balance gets too low. If you don’t have a transponder tag, you can just set up a short-term account and use your license plate and credit card (you open an account without extra fees and prepaid toll balance. It’s a pay-as-you-go option – your card is automatically charged when you cross the toll booth). This is a great option if you are e.g., renting a car.

Note that there is a great way to manage and pay all your toll payments – a mobile app. When you use Uproad, you don’t need to worry about using non-cash tollway lanes. You just need a link to payment and that’s it – everything is easily managed in just a few clicks.

What happens if you don’t pay a toll?

If you don’t pay a toll in the US, there are usually two possible options. You can be turned away – if there is a toll booth operator, they can point you to a place to turn around and send you back the way you came from. The second option is a fine. It will be sent to the registered owner of the vehicle. If you travel without paying, the toll operator may start the toll recovery process. The entire process may differ, depending on the state, but it usually includes the following steps:

  1. Toll invoice. An invoice is sent to the registered owner of the vehicle. It includes tolls incurred during travel and administrative fees that may apply.

  2. Overdue notice if the first toll invoice isn’t paid by the due date. The notice includes tolls incurred during travel and higher administrative fees.

  3. Infringement notice if the overdue notice isn’t paid by the due date.

What happens if you don’t pay a toll in another state?

Even if the toll was incurred while e.g., you were driving a rental car, you will still be on the hook for paying the missed toll. A camera-based system takes a photograph of the license plates, and you will for sure receive a bill from the rental company.

How to pay a toll violation? Is there any penalty?

The entire process depends on the state you are traveling. In most cases, you can just pay the violation invoice online. You can also pay in person at the customer service center, as well as over the phone. Violations may be assessed as a penalty in addition to the toll amount due. The fee varies depending on the state. A second violation notice usually brings another additional penalty. Failure to respond to the second notice may result in a DMV hold being put on the registered owner of the vehicle.

How to use US toll roads

If you want to travel across the US and use its toll roads, keep the following guidelines in mind:

  1. Make sure you visit at least one of the most spectacular toll roads across the US: 17 Mile Drive through Pebble Beach, California, Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana, or Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Virginia Beach.

  2. Very often, the toll rate depends on a vehicle category. Vehicles with only two axes pay a lower toll than transfer trucks or vehicles that are pulling trailers.

  3. Tolls are paid at toll booths. The style of toll booth you encounter depends on the size and popularity of the toll road.

Aug 03, 2023


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