Toll roads can be confusing to drivers from areas that don’t use them. However, they are faster and less congested and attract many drivers. What is a toll road? This is a road or a section of a highway that you pay when you drive on it. The money goes to the road’s upkeep and maintenance, and you pay a fine if you use the road and fail to pay the toll.
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How do tolling systems work?
Most areas use toll roads to generate maintenance money without raising taxes on the general public. However, some roads don’t remain tolls forever. In some cases, the government removes the toll after recovering the road’s construction cost. Most places use electronic tolling systems allowing drivers to make automated payments from their accounts. The amount paid is determined by the section of the road used and the type or class of vehicle. Tolled roads have a reader device with a radio signal. If you drive along such a road, the radio signal triggers the transponder to transmit an identifying number. This registers information on your vehicle’s use of the tolled road, and an electronic system charges a toll.
What are the steps involved in electronic tolling?
- Image capturing
The electronic system employs advanced cameras and sensors. These capture accurate details of your vehicle’s registration number and assign a toll. You don’t have to slow when approaching the toll point, though. Moreover, there are no booths, and you don’t waste time waiting for change.
- Character recognition
Once you drive under the toll point and the camera captures an image of your vehicle, the toll system will use high-tech character recognition technology to read your vehicles registration plate. This applies whether you’re driving a car, truck, bus, or motorcycle.
- Toll calculation
The toll amount depends on the type of vehicle driven. However, you won’t pay additional charges for caravans and trailers. Also, the system will automatically verify whether your vehicle is linked to an account. If yes, the toll is deducted automatically and holds the toll record if your car has no account. If you don’t pay within five working days, you will receive a message from the toll provider.
What if I don’t pay?
If you fail to pay the amount within the stipulated time, the road’s payment provider will notify the registered vehicle owner. If you ignore the toll notice, you may also receive a demand notice for the toll provider, which then translates to additional penalties.
Remember, it’s the car owner who bears the obligation and not the driver. Failure to pay up, you commit an offence that may involve other state agencies. For instance, the toll road provider may engage a debt collection firm to make you pay up.
Nowadays, most roads use automated tolling systems. These are faster and more convenient, and you don’t have to travel with cash to pay your toll. Also, electronic toll systems help avoid congestion and queues at the toll gate and minimize fuel consumption on toll bridges.