EZ-Pass and Speeding Tickets

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Snopes debunks the "E-ZPass used for determining who is speeding" myth.

I've heard this one several times, as far back as a decade ago, but I haven't ever seen someone explain why the police can't use this kind of system to catch speeders. It's nice to see someone presenting the facts, but even this debunking doesn't mention one reason why this would never work. A traffic officer needs to be involved in catching speeders to verify who is driving the vehicle. Otherwise, an owner of a vehicle who happens to have several other family members who drive the vehicle could get a speeding ticket for what another driver did, or even worse you could get ticketed for what your friend does while driving your vehicle.

This may well be an irresolvable problem with trying to use anything like E-ZPass to catch speeders. Even with cameras, you couldn't be sure that it was one rather than another of a set of identical twins or two family members who look similar. They can send you a bill if your vehicle goes through an EZ-Pass lane when it's not supposed to (although the one time I did that I was told I'd get a bill and never did), but they can't touch your driving record without being sure it's you, for the same reason you can't get convicted of a traffic offense if the police officer doesn't show up in court to testify that you're the one they stopped.

6 Comments

Interestingly though, in San Francisco they mount cameras at intersections to catch red light runners. They mail you a ticket, and a photograph. The E-ZPass + cameras could theoretically do the same thing, but I would be more worried about an unmanned radar gun (like the ones they sometimes set up to "warn" speeders near construction zones) and a camera set up in specific areas to catch speeders.

Here in the UK if you are caught speeding etc by an automatic system a ticket is sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle. The keeper can write back with the name of a different person who was actually driving, and a new ticket is issued, but the fine still has to be paid. And it is a criminal offence to give the name of someone else if they were not actually driving - which one might want to do to spread the accumulation of penalty points. The only way to get away without paying is if you have already reported the vehicle stolen.

I heard something on NPR about the Mass Pike thinking of giving tickets to bridge a deficit in '08. But am in the process of verify this. (that is how I got here.)

I know the NY Thruway is considering raising tolls to make up for a deficit. That may be what you heard about. I'd be very surprised if the owners of the road are going to be able to give speeding tickets when they're not law enforcement officers. Is that even legal?

I was just driving back from Boston to NY. On Interstate 84 westbound in CT there were devices that were placed on poles that hung directly above the road, in the middle of the road. There were two of them about 1/4 apart from each other. They looked like huge domed security cameras. They seemed very odd to me. I'm wondering if it was tracking our speed?

http://www.snopes.com/autos/law/ezpass.asp EZpass only gives warnings for going though a tool booth too fast - not for speeding from exit-A to exit-B.

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