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Turnpike Officials Working On Plan To Collect Unpaid Tolls

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(Source: Florida Dept. of Transportation)

(Source: Florida Dept. of Transportation)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Every year, millions of dollars in tolls go unpaid by drivers who cruise the Florida Turnpike without a SunPass or don’t stop at booths to pay their fare.

Now turnpike officials are working on a plan to make the scofflaws pay what’s owed. The plan is to block the annual renewal of their auto registration until all tolls and fines are paid, according to the Sun-Sentinel. With the final details still being worked out, there’s no word yet on when it would be implemented.

Turnpike officials said in the last two 6.2 million bills were sent out to driver’s who license plates were photographed going through the SunPass lanes without a SunPass transponder. Of those bills about a third remain unpaid; a total of $15 million has been sent to collection agencies.

The unpaid amount, however, is rather small when compared to the $756 million in tolls collected in 2013.

A big reason for the small percentage of unpaid tolls is heavy usage of transponders. Currently, 87 percent of turnpike tolls in Miami-Dade County are paid by SunPass; only 13 percent rely on license plate photographs, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

Out-of-state drivers account for about 4 percent of the turnpike’s traffic.

Drivers who receive bills in the mail have 30 days to pay the toll plus a $2.50 processing fee. If the tolls aren’t paid in 60 days, each missed toll becomes a traffic citation and a $25 fine is assessed for each missed toll.  If the fines aren’t paid in 90 days, the matter is turned over to the court.

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