Last week I had the pleasure of paying more than $7.00 for the right to drive on the highway to Wisconsin and back for a weekend at the Dells with the family.
I'm not an I-pass holder so I greeted the very nice booth workers every 30 minutes or so and turned over my money. Someday someone will explain to me why one distance costs .80 and another costs $1.00 and another costs $1.60, but I digress.
Around the time I was pulling in to a booth I got an e-mail on my phone from someone who was looking for a lawyer. It seems that their brother's, cousin's, neighbor's, friend had borrowed his car for 50 or so trips and had decided that instead of using an I-pass or stopping at the toll booth, they'd just keep driving. Now my e-mailer had a five figure bill from the Illinois Tollway and was facing a suspension of his license if he didn't pay up. What's a guy to do?
Unfortunately for him and any other vehicle owner, you are responsible for what happens in your car. You can sue the person that didn't pay the tolls, but you are responsible for paying them. If you don't you will face higher financial penalties and probably have your license suspended.
The good news (ok it's just so-so news) is that every now and then the tollway will drastically reduce the fines. In most situations there isn't much a lawyer can do for you unless it's to look for some loophole in how you were notified. But unless your car was reported as stolen you are probably in trouble.
On a final note, don't quote me, but I've heard that you can get up to three times through the toll system without getting in trouble. But of course the safest thing is just to stop and pay while cursing under your breath that you have to pay to use roads that seem to always be under construction.
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