Motorists with E-ZPass transponders can travel all over the country and drive through toll booths without worrying about stopping and paying tolls using cash.
Can You Go Through an E-ZPass Without an E-ZPass?
You cannot go through an E-ZPass without an active and fully-functioning E-ZPass transponder. If you go through a lane marked ‘E-ZPass Only’ without an E-ZPass transponder, the system will photograph your license plate as you pass under the overhead gantry. You will receive an E-ZPass violation notice and bill in your mail within 30-40 days.
Once you receive this bill, you have up to 30 days to pay it and correct your mistake. Timely payment of your toll bill means that you avoid paying fines and having your vehicle registration suspended.
You can pay this toll fee by online/phone payment or via mail. On the other hand, if you fail to pay the bill within the time limit, the system will send a second bill to your mail with a $5 fine.
After the first 30 days, your toll fee will increase to $25 plus the toll fee. Failure to honor the second bill will result in a fill-blown toll violation in your name.
After 100 days have elapsed since your E-ZPass toll violation, you will receive a notice from the DMV via mail indicating the fee for the violation. This violation is usually $50 for every trip. Failure to make the payment within 15 days, the DMV will refer your toll violation notice to a collection agency.
This will likely affect your credit score. If you do not respond to these notices within five years, your vehicle registration will be suspended. Toll violation fees in the U.S. are usually capped at $2,200 plus the toll fee every time a motorist drives through an E-ZPass lane without an active E-ZPass account.
What Actually Is E-ZPass? How does It work?
E-ZPass Group is an association of toll entities across various states in the U.S. that provides motorists with a fast, convenient, accurate, and seamless system of paying toll fees on bridges, highways, and tunnels.
All you need to do is attach the E-ZPass transponder or tag on your windshield or front bumper for the toll booth scanners to read it and deduct a fee from your E-ZPass account.
If you have not mounted an E-ZPass transponder on your windshield or front bumper, you should drive through the cash lanes to pay the required toll fees. Additionally, if you have a malfunctioning transponder, you should use the cash lanes until it starts functioning again.
It is worth noting that if your E-ZPass transponder is not mounted correctly on your vehicle, the toll booth scanner will be unable to read it, deduct the payment, or register that you have paid. Therefore, before driving through an E-ZPass toll booth, you must ensure that it is mounted correctly.
Experts recommend mounting your transponder on your vehicle’s front bumper if you use an external one or on your windshield if you use an internal one. You should also ensure that your E-ZPass account has sufficient funds to cover the toll fees.
If your E-ZPass account does not have enough money, your toll transaction will not be completed or registered, and you will automatically receive a violation. The best way to avoid getting this violation is to set up your E-ZPass account so that it recharges itself once it reaches the minimum balance.
However, there is an exception for those who can drive through E-ZPass lanes without an E-ZPass transponder. If you are a motorist from Virginia, you can drive through some highways, tunnels, and bridges without an E-ZPass transponder, owing to a mobile application called GoToll. It is available on Google Play Store and App Store.
This application requires you to sign up and provide your license plate and credit card information. Using this app, motorists from Virginia can pay for toll lanes without mounting an E-ZPass transponder on their vehicles. This app is for motorists who rarely drive out of Virginia or through E-ZPass lanes.
The GoToll app is ideal for motorists who pass through E-ZPass lanes once in a while. The good news for GoToll app users is that they do not need to pay any fees in advance to use the application. However, they must wait up to six hours to use the app after installation.
Tips to Go Through E-ZPass
Ensure that your E-ZPass transponder is mounted correctly
One of the most important things you should do to ensure that you drive through an E-ZPass lane without problems is to install your transponder properly. An internal transponder should be mounted on the windshield with the antenna facing upwards. On the other hand, an external transponder should be mounted on the front bumper above the license plate.
Ensure that your transponder is working
If you drive through an E-ZPass lane with a malfunctioning transponder, the scanner will not read it, and you will get a toll violation. Fortunately, there are several ways you can verify whether your transponder is working before driving through an E-ZPass toll booth. They include:
- Pass through an E-ZPass lane on a ramp. If the light flashes yellow or blue, your transponder is functioning properly.
- Visit an E-ZPass customer care center and have one of the representatives troubleshoot your transponder. The representative will notify you if the transponder is working; if it is not, you can always order a new one.
- Pass through a toll booth that uses an automatic coin machine for toll fees. If the device displays a green light, your transponder is fine. On the other hand, if the machine shows a red light, your transponder is faulty.
- Drive through a toll booth with a cash collector who manually lifts the booth gates. The collector will lift the booth gates if the transponder is working. If the transponder is malfunctioning, the collector will inform you.
Always obey speed limits.
You should adhere to specific speed limits when driving through an E-ZPass lane. If you exceed this speed limit, the toll booth scanner may not be able to read your transponder and deduct your payment. This will result in a toll violation. Therefore, you should always drive through these lanes under the specified speed limit.
Check your credit/debit card expiration date.
If you drive past an E-ZPass toll booth and the credit/debit card linked to your E-ZPass account has expired, the payment will not be deducted. This usually leads to an E-ZPass violation. Therefore, consider linking your E-ZPass account with a backup credit/debit card or bank account to avoid getting an E-ZPass violation.
Recharge your account before going out.
Driving through an E-ZPass lane with insufficient funds in your E-ZPass account will lead to a toll violation. Ensure that your E-ZPass account has enough money to cover the toll fees before going out. If you easily forget to recharge your account, ensure that you set up your E-ZPass account to recharge itself once it hits the minimum account balance.
Report a stolen transponder.
If you lose your transponder or believe someone stole it, ensure that you report it to the respective agency so they can disable it. This way, the transponder will not work in any other toll booth. And you will avoid paying a hefty fine.
Check your E-ZPass transactions regularly.
The E-ZPass toll booths usually do not give motorists feedback on whether the transaction was successful. As a result, you may fail to pay toll fees at the booth without your knowledge.
To avoid getting toll violations, check your E-ZPass transactions, especially after driving through an E-ZPass lane. This way, you can pay the toll fees on time and avoid getting E-ZPass violations.
List all vehicles on your E-ZPass account.
E-ZPass allows motorists to register up to four vehicles under one E-ZPass account. However, you should ensure that you mount the extra E-ZPass tags to every car for the E-ZPass toll booth scanner to recognize them as you drive through the lane.
You should also ensure that the vehicles sharing a single E-ZPass account belong to the exact vehicle class/type. You can also transfer E-ZPass transponders from one car to another, provided they belong to the same class/type.
Your E-ZPass transponder works for all the other states within the E-ZPass network. Currently, there are about 18 states that use this E-ZPass network, and plans are underway to include more states.
Some states like Pennsylvania issue two kinds of E-ZPass accounts for personal and commercial vehicles. Both E-ZPass accounts work for all states within the E-ZPass network.
You can use someone else’s E-ZPass account to pass an E-ZPass lane. However, you need to inform E-ZPass in advance of the license plate of the vehicle you will be driving on that day. You can also list the vehicle’s license plate under the particular E-ZPass account to avoid getting an E-ZPass violation.