New Hampshire snafu could give drivers a free pass

| Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Lawmakers in New Hampshire left a loophole in the state’s toll program big enough to drive a truck through. Literally.

Legislation for the state’s E-ZPass tolling system, which went into effect in July, replaced an earlier law that made it illegal to run tollbooths without paying, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader.

The earlier law levied a fine of $140 plus court costs and points against the driver’s license. That law went off the books on July 1.

Further complicating the matter is the fact that the new legislation relies on cameras that snap pictures of license plates for enforcement. The trouble is those cameras are only in use on E-ZPass lanes. The result is that drivers in coin-basket-only lanes can zip through without paying, and authorities have no way of knowing or enforcing who has gone through.

A spokesman for Gov. John Lynch told the Union Leader that the problem will be corrected, though he did not specify how or when.

In the meantime, officials say they are relying on good faith to keep road users paying the tolls.

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