The toll road gestapo is coming for you...
NTTA impounds car of driver who had been banned from road
By BRANDON FORMBY
Dallas Morning News
January 29, 2015
Dallas-area toll dodgers who think the North Texas Tollway Authority has been bluffing about towing your car, take note: The agency impounded a scofflaw’s vehicle for the first time this week.
NTTA spokesman Michael Rey said a state trooper Tuesday pulled over Rochelle Sanders on the Dallas North Tollway in Plano after she’d been told multiple times that she was banned from agency roads for not paying her tolls.
The Garland resident owed the agency $2,700 in unpaid tolls and fees for 1,300 unpaid violations dating back to May. That pales next to the tens of thousands of dollars that some drivers owe for violations that stretch back for years.
Sanders could not be reached for comment. Rey said she opened a TollTag account Thursday morning and began paying what she owes.
Lawmakers in 2013 allowed toll agencies to ban from their roadways drivers who have racked up more than 100 unpaid tolls in a year. Those caught violating the ban can be ticketed or have their cars impounded on the spot.
The NTTA has cameras that scan license plate numbers, run them against a database of banned drivers and notify the agency’s operations center of a violator’s location. Dispatchers can then notify state troopers stationed on the roads.
The agency has banned more than 21,000 drivers. Sanders, who previously received a ticket for violating the ban, was the first driver to have a car impounded.
“You’re going to see more this in the future,” Rey said.
He said Sanders was in a toll enforcement zone, where the license-plate readers are set up near state troopers ready to pull over violators, but he wasn’t sure if that’s what prompted the stop.
Officials said Sanders had outstanding warrants unrelated to any toll violations and was arrested during the stop.
Rey said more than 3,500 drivers have begun paying their dodged tolls after the NTTA mailed them ban letters. He said it’s unfair to those who pay for the roads not to go after those who don’t. He said the agency encourages people to talk to the agency about payment plans and TollTags. Ignoring the bills, he said, won’t work.
“This isn’t going away,” he said.