New York is buckling down on toll evaders. Beginning early 2016, the New York Department of Motor Vehicles plans to suspend the registration of any motorist who ignores repeat notices from toll authorities and fails to pay five tolls within a period of 18 months. The rule will apply to all Thruway and bridge tolls.
The new toll regulation appeared on November 18, 2015 in the New York State Register. The 45-day comment period will end on January 4, 2016 and the regulation will be formally adopted and implemented shortly thereafter.
VTL section 510(3)(d) authorizes the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to “suspend or revoke the license or registration of persons who commit persistent violations of the VTL, or of any lawful ordinance, rule or regulation made by local authorities in relation to traffic.” All states require a vehicle to be registered for it to be driven legally; a registration suspension means the state has taken away your right to place the vehicle on the road. A suspension as a result of toll evasion will last until the fee has been paid to the tolling authority and the DMV is notified that the debt has been resolved.
Prior to this law, toll evaders were contacted by a collection agency. Now, authorities will send written notices for each violation with instructions for how to pay the fine. If the violator fails to pay, the toll authority will transfer the case to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the driver will face a suspension. However, the driver may request a hearing before a DMV administrative law judge, with the suspension dependant upon the result of the hearing.
Under similar legislation awaiting approval by the New York State Senate (Senate Bill S6215), drivers could also be charged with theft of services, a misdemeanor offense, if they use license plate hiding devices to trick the E-ZPass or toll booth camera.
A New York suspension will transfer to other states. New York has reciprocity with many other states and it will notify the state where you hold a driver’s license about any suspensions in New York. This will also apply to the new registration suspensions from outstanding toll fees.