The Orlando Orange County Expressway Authority reported netting $251 million last year in toll collections – a $45 million increase from 2009. The toll revenue plays a crucial role, providing the funding necessary to maintain the Florida Turnpike. Unfortunately, some innocent SunPass users are playing the role of victim in this fund-raising endeavor.
The SunPass transponder – also referred to as an E-Pass – is an electronic device that allows travelers on the Florida Turnpike, Toll Roads – 417, 429, 408 and the 528 to move through toll collection areas without stopping. Sensors at the toll station communicate with the transponder in the driver’s vehicle, debiting the toll from money in the SunPass holder’s online account.
This system is aimed at reducing travel time and toll cost, but it can create some significant problems for SunPass users when it fails.
A SunPass transponder can fail due to a variety of reasons, some of them include:
• dead or failing batteries,
• vehicle’s windshield contains metal oxide, or
• improper transponder placement.
Technology can fail, too, through no fault of the user. Florida Turnpike authorities claim that the technology works if users follow directions, but it is pretty hard to believe that the electronic toll system has never malfunctioned. Regardless of fault, when the SunPass system fails it can cause serious trouble for the vehicle owner.
Consequences of Toll Violations
When the SunPass responder fails at a toll station and the driver isn’t aware, Florida law punishes the vehicle’s owner as an unpaid toll violator or may issue them a uniform traffic citation (UTC).
Unlike many other states, Florida’s toll violations are considered moving violations. Because of this classification, vehicle owners hit with toll violations face significant consequences:
• Fines that may exceed $100
• Increased insurance costs
• Points assessed to driving record
• Drivers License suspension
• Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License
These consequences are severe: especially for busy turnpike travelers who didn’t catch the transponder failure. However, they can avoid the serious consequences involved if they take action.
Avoiding the Consequences
Any toll or traffic violation can prove costly, but a skilled Orlando defense attorney can work with the traffic courts and toll agencies to avoid serious consequences from resulting. Consider hiring a defense lawyer with experience as a prosecutor, as that experience can provide a unique insight that may be valuable when creating defense strategies.