The Illinois Tollway’s Customer Service Committee today recommended allowing customers more time to pay their violation notices in an effort to better serve the needs of Tollway customers.
The new deadlines would give customers 30 days to respond to each of the three violation notice deadlines, giving customers a total of 90 days to pay their violations after receiving the initial notice of violation and before the violations are sent to a collection agency.
“We know that receiving a toll violation is unpleasant at best, so this new rule change will provide our customers with more time to take care of toll violations,” said Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. “Our customers deserve a simple, fair and more consistent timeline to pay their violation notices.”
The Tollway provides customers who mistakenly miss tolls a seven-day grace period to make payments online or by mail. Any unpaid tolls become violations after this grace period. Once three violations occur within a rolling two-year period, a violation notice is issued.
Currently, Tollway customers have a total of 56 days to pay their violation notices. Tollway customers who receive a violation notice have 21 days to pay the unpaid tolls plus $20 per violation or contest the violation.
Failure to pay within that time results in a second notice with 14 days to pay and a warning that additional fines of $50 per violation will occur if the tolls and fines aren’t paid in full.
Customers who receive a third notice have 21 days to pay, plus a $50 fine per violation. The third notice also includes a warning of additional penalties, including suspension of a driver’s license and vehicle license plate, as well as referral to a collection agency.
The new timeline is expected to go into effect by the end of the year. It must first be approved by the Illinois Tollway Board of Directors, which is expected to vote to approve this rule change at its meeting on September 26, 2013. It is then submitted to the Illinois Joint Committee on Administrative Rules for final approval.
The Illinois Tollway is a user-funded system that receives no state or federal funding for maintenance and operations. More than 1.4 million vehicles travel the Illinois Tollway daily. In 2012, the Tollway issued 1.2 million first violation notices; of the approximately $55 million lost in unpaid tolls, the agency recovered about $44 million.
The extension of time for customers to pay their violation notices is another way the Illinois Tollway is enhancing efforts to provide greater customer service and transparency.
Last year, the Tollway began offering customers the opportunity to contest toll violations for which they are not responsible by going online, downloading a user-friendly form, attaching the required documentation and returning it to the Tollway for review. Prior to this new process, customers would need to call the Tollway or visit a Customer Service Center to explain why they were not legally responsible for the violations.
In 2011, the Tollway implemented a policy to make sure that customers received their violations in a timely manner. Under this revised Tollway policy, all violation notices are required to be mailed within 90 days of a Tollway user’s third violation within a rolling two-year period. The new policy means that violation notices will typically contain fewer violations and are delivered more quickly to Tollway users.