No fines for cash violators in New Hampshire
By Peter Samuel
"We didn't think about what we didn't want it (the new law) to do" - Carol Murray, state transport commissioner
There are presently no fines for violators in cash toll lanes in New Hampshire due a legislative bungle. Transport Commissioner Carol Murray says the legislators messed up when they enacted legislation for video violation enforcement to support the introduction of transponder tolling (E-ZPass). In the process they replealed penalties for all violations except those recorded by a camera.
They don't have camera enforcement in most of the coin machine or manual lanes. As a result a motorist who drives through one of those lanes without paying can't be charged on the basis of the eye witness testimony of a toll collector or a policeman any more.
It was the state police stumbled over the fact that there has been no non-video violation penalty on the books since July 1 when the E-ZPass camera enforcement law was enacted.
Murray took responsibility: "We knew what we wanted it (the E-Z Pass law) to do. We didn't think about what we didn't want it to do."
Police commissioner Richard Flynn says troopers may still stop someone running a cash toll, but won't issue a ticket because: "We only enforce laws that are on the books."
Turnpikes bureau chief Harvey Goodwin says he thinks most motorists will continue paying tolls. He was quoted in the NH Union Leader however as adding this qualifier: "I would like to think that would be the case."
Violations on the New Hampshire system run at under 1.5%. Of course now the news is out that may rise!
They need a hand from the US Congress
So there you have it. These simple New England folks need a lesson from the US Congress whose absolute rule is: Never ever repeal any law or regulation, just lay more stuff on top year by year. That's how we have a brilliant immigration law of several thousand pages of regulations which only specialist immigration attorneys can start to understand, plus an income tax code which is too large and complex even for tax lawyers to comprehend.
How do they expect to provide jobs for new lawyers if they repeal one law when the new one is passed? You wouldn't need to be a lawyer to understand the law.
They DO propose, they say, to pass another law to replace that one they shouldn't have repealed.
Meanwhile if you run a non-video toll lane you won't receive a toll violation ticket in New Hampshire but you may find you are pulled over and kept waiting 10 minutes while the cop checks by radio whether you are an ax-murderer from Kansas, and then searches your car for 20 minutes looking for marijuana. TOLLROADSnews 2005-09-13