When you are driving a rental car (if you ever drive a rental car) do you pay tolls in Maryland? Or are you one of the thousands of cool, savvy drivers who have been zipping through the E-Z Pass lane without a transponder and letting the fine go to the rental company?
If you’re really hip, you’ve been doing the same thing in your own car, because you know that the Maryland MVA “hasn’t suspended a vehicle registration for nonpayment of tolls in more than two years.” Plus, even if your toll debt gets sent to a collection unit, it won’t be reported to credit-rating agencies.
As a square who always pays the toll — except for this one time when I attempted to pay with pennies and nickels and the woman operating the toll booth was so exasperated she told me to just go without paying but then I got fined by mail — I’d love to get mad at the scofflaws who are making the rest of us bear even higher tolls to make up for the revenue loss, but it isn’t exactly like that. Even though the unpaid tolls amount to millions of dollars, they add up to less than one percent of toll revenue in the state, so their effect on toll rates is negligible.
Right now, all toll-snubbing badasses of Maryland get is a letter once a year reminding them of their debt. But that could change. New Jersey actually arrests some violators (and defames others on an Internet “Wall of Shame”). Virginia summons repeat offenders to a court hearing and can impose a $500 fine as well as put a hold on vehicle registration renewal. And sooner or later Maryland migh crib some of their ideas.