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Friday, March 14, 2008

EZ-Pass or EZ-Ticket?

Since coming late to the daylight-savings-time thing (enacted in 2007),


is now getting on board with the EZ-Pass electronic toll collection system on the toll road in the northern part of the state.  Obviously this should ease traffic and it has long been in place in other parts of the country.

One question I have is how the electronic data collected will be, or can be, used.  If a car gets on the toll road, travels 75 miles, and gets off the toll road in less than an hour, why couldn’t the driver be ticketed for speeding based on the fact that he must have exceeded the 75-mph speed limit?  Couldn’t it be utilized like automatic red-light cameras?  Googling the issue reveals concerns about this but provides no evidence of it happening, but surely budget-strapped police departments would be tempted to use it and divert their troopers for other purposes.

Also, how and how long is the data stored?  Could law enforcement subpoena a driver’s EZ-Pass records to locate a fugitive or use them as evidence in a criminal case, such as against a cross-country drug courier or a smuggler of illegal aliens?  What about subpoenas in civil cases?  Apparently such records already been used in divorce cases to show that a spouse “took the off-ramp to adultery.”  With technological advances, could the in-car component of the system provide real-time tracking similar to a GPS device?

Some have maintained (my technologically-challenged brain can’t evaluate its merit) that the EZ-Pass system could be set up to avoid some of these tracking issues.  Even if so, though, the technology would still presumably allow police to use the information to ticket drivers.

All that said, I'll probably sign up just to use the quicker toll lanes.  As soon as I get a ticket in the mail, though, I'll be kicking myself.

Posted by Amy Barrett on March 14, 2008 at 01:37 PM | Permalink


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We used this system for years on the east coast, and never got a ticket, despite my wife's faster-than-average speeds. This is not to say that it couldn't be used for such a thing, only that it's been in existence for a long time and hasn't.

Why would that be extremely problematic, though?

Of course, speed cameras AT the toll is another matter...


Posted by: Jonathan | Mar 14, 2008 2:46:48 PM

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