A violation is a toll transaction that is issued on paper because the transponder or license plate that was read on the vehicle cannot be matched to a valid toll account. Violation is a term used by some toll authorities, while other common terms are toll by mail, plate toll bill or plate toll invoice.
Any commercial fleet that operates on tolled roads or bridges is subject to the possibility of violations, which most often come with additional cost and delayed processing time. A diligent and comprehensive approach to toll management requires anticipating violations, actions to minimize their occurrence, and understanding how to handle them when they do occur.
How Violations Work
Toll violations and paper toll bills occur when a vehicle passes through a toll booth or toll gantry without the transaction being recorded and validated in a standard way. While many toll facility operators focus on transponders as the primary means for capturing toll transactions, they also often implement a toll by plate system as a backup. As a truck or other vehicle travels through a gantry or other toll reader, the system will look for a transponder but also capture an image of the vehicle’s license plate.
If the toll facility operator is unable to identify a transponder or a license plate on a known account, then it will attempt to reference the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) records in the relevant state. This additional processing adds time and expense for the authority, which then results in increased cost for the fleet.
Once the tolling authority identifies the vehicle owner, it will either post the toll to an active account or issue a plate toll invoice via mail. Either way, an administrative fee will likely be added to the toll amount, resulting in a greater expense than a transponder-based transaction. In some cases, a tolling authority will have three toll rates: a transponder rate, a plate by toll rate, and finally a toll by mail rate, with the latter being the most expensive. There will also be a delay in the fleet receiving the charge due to the additional processing time required by the tolling authority, especially in the case of the mailed paper invoice.
How To Avoid Them:
Commitment to keeping fleet data as up to date as possible, notifying toll authorities of equipment changes. Typical equipment changes include fleet expansion, replacing transponders and swapping out older pieces of equipment for newer ones. As a best practice, fleets should not only update tolling authorities on a daily or weekly basis, but they should also conduct a complete equipment audit on a quarterly basis.