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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s now one year since the Pennsylvania Turnpike started cracking down on habitual toll cheats.
The Turnpike is now allowed to essentially suspend a PA driver’s registration if the driver routinely avoids paying tolls.
Eyewitness News has discovered some out-of-state toll cheats still owe the P.A. Turnpike tens of thousands of dollars.
Documents from the P.A. Turnpike show Kaars Inc. of Trenton is among the Turnpike’s top toll cheats.
“We need people to pay their bills,” said Carl DeFebo, a spokesperson with the P.A. Turnpike. He says while most drivers do pay the toll, some evade tolls by driving through EZ Pass lanes without an EZ Pass account.
DeFebo also says Kaars Inc. owes $24,444.66 in tolls and fees and that’s despite a recent change in state law.
Back in Aug. 2017, Pennsylvania legislators amended a law to suspend a driver’s registration if the driver has six or more toll violations or wracks up more than $500 in violations.
“It gave us some teeth, some consequence to go after those egregious violators,” said DeFebo.
Since the law went into effect over the last year, 232 drivers considered habitual toll cheats had their registrations suspended.
The P.A. Turnpike cannot suspend the registration of alleged toll cheats from out of state, like Kaars Inc. of Trenton.
Reporter Matt Petrillo asked a Kaars employee, “How does a company wrack up more than $24,000 in tolls and fees?”
“You’ve got the wrong company,” said Jerry Palmisano, who works as a dispatcher and says he’s seen the book that doesn’t show any debt to the Turnpike.
Efforts to reach the company’s owner were unsuccessful.
Now, the P.A. Turnpike says it’s trying to work with other states so it could go after all habitual toll cheats. It’s close to securing a reciprocal agreement with Delaware. It hopes to have that put into place by the end of the year.