Date: Jul 30, 2001
Press Release Number: 106-2001
Following a three-month test period, the Port Authority will officially launch an enforcement program beginning on August 1 to identify motorists who speed through E-ZPass lanes at the agency’s bridges and tunnels. This program will be in effect at the George Washington Bridge, the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, the Goethals and Bayonne bridges, and the Outerbridge Crossing.
Since May 1, E-ZPass customers found traveling at excessive speeds through Port Authority E-ZPass lanes received warning letters notifying them that their E-ZPass account will be suspended if they don’t slow down. Since that time, more than 43,000 warning notices have been issued.
Beginning August 1, motorists who continue to speed will have their E-ZPass account suspended for the following specific periods of time:
· First offense – warning only.
· Second offense within six-month period – loss of E-ZPass for 60 days.
· Third offense within six-month period – loss of E-ZPass for 180 days.
· Fourth offense within six-month period – loss of E-ZPass for one year.
Motorists will start off with a clean slate if they don’t speed for six months after their most recent infraction.
Ken Philmus, the Port Authority’s Director of Tunnels, Bridges and Terminals, said the agency’s biggest concern is making sure E-ZPass customers can safely merge with cash-paying customers – who must come to a complete stop – after exiting the toll lanes.
“During the test period, we experienced a noticeable reduction in the speeds that motorists traveled through the E-ZPass lanes, and we hope that trend will continue,” Mr. Philmus said. “We are trying to balance the need to improve traffic flow at our crossings with our obligation to ensure the safety of all of our customers. Also, increased accidents due to excessive speed through E-ZPass toll lanes unnecessarily slow down everyone behind the accident until it is cleared up.”
The E-ZPass technology set up in each of the Port Authority’s 74 toll lanes measures the speeds of vehicles traveling through them. The data is then sent via computer to the New York Customer Service Center, which will administer the program.
The E-ZPass technology will not be used to issue speeding tickets. Drivers cannot be ticketed unless police observe the traffic violation. Port Authority Police will continue to monitor speeds through E-ZPass lanes as part of their ongoing responsibility.