CBS (CHICAGO) — Illinois drivers are getting billed for toll violations on out-of-state roads they never drove on.
Take Terry White, for example. He was at home in Bourbonnais at the time he was fined for not paying a toll in Denver.
Same with Kim Jones. She tells 2 Investigator Brad Edwards the Florida Department of Transportation said she owed more than $200 in unpaid tolls.
Only, she says, “I hadn’t been to Florida recently.”
Why is this happening?
Edwards found the answer may lie in how the Illinois Secretary of State’s office licenses some nine million registered vehicles throughout the state.
A car and a semi-truck, for instance, may have the same digits on their license plates. However, the suffix, or the letters to the right of the plate, are different. David Druker, a White spokesman, says out-of-state toll agencies often misread the plate’s suffix, the reason Jones and White may have been wrongly billed.
“I want to emphasize it’s not the same plate,” Druker says. “They’re incorrectly sending it to the passenger owner.”
Druker says the Secretary of State’s office has been working with out-of-state toll agencies to make sure workers are aware of the suffixes.
Motorists who run into this problem should call the office’s hotline: (217) 782-7614.
“We don’t want people getting burned in this process,” Druker says. “We want to be able to help them as best we can.”