by guest blogger Emily Pace
You might’ve seen recent article in the media about a customer who received a civil penalty for unpaid tolls, but never received a toll bill. We mail two toll bills to the registered vehicle owner on file with Department of Licensing. We give drivers 80 days to pay before we mail a third notice, this time with a $40 penalty for each unpaid transaction.
As with all mail, there are many reasons why a bill may not reach someone or is returned to us by the post office, some examples include:
- The registered vehicle owner has recently moved and not updated their address with DOL. State law requires vehicle owners update their address with DOL within 30 days of moving.
- The customer sets up a temporary hold (which can be in place for up to 30 days) but does not pick up their mail within 30 days, the mail is then returned to the sender.
- The customer’s mailbox becomes too full to deliver mail, they moved and did not provide a new address, the address provided was incorrect etc.
This brings us to an important point: If you don’t get a toll bill call us. You should receive a toll bill about 14 days after crossing either the SR 520 or Tacoma Narrows bridges. If you don’t get a bill for any of the reasons listed above, or you misplace it or throw it away – give our customer service center a call. When you call, if you have your license plate, state and name they will be able to look up any outstanding toll charges and you can pay them right then over the phone. You can also visit us at any of our walk-in centers in Seattle, Bellevue or Gig Harbor.
Quite a few people have asked why we don’t allow drivers to enter their license plate online so they can see any toll charges. It comes down to privacy. We don’t want people to be able to enter their neighbor’s license plate online, or anyone else for that matter, and be able to see all their toll crossings.
Ultimately, there must be consequences for drivers who don’t pay their tolls on time. If we don’t enforce the tolls, it isn’t fair to the drivers who are paying. Toll enforcement is also about ensuring we have enough revenue to provide funding for the bridge replacement.