Police converged around Tydings Bridge last week to crack down on people not paying tolls.
Maryland Transportation Authority reported that there have been more than 20,500 toll violations at the Tydings Bridge in the past year, resulting in $740,450 in lost revenue, according to a statement from Maryland State Police.
Police said drivers have used devices to obstruct their license plates, removed their license plates or altered their vehicle registrations to avoid paying the $6 toll at Tydings Bridge, which is monitored by video surveillance.
State police, transportation authority police and Perryville police joined forces around the Tydings Bridge in Cecil County Nov. 14-16 to identify commercial vehicles that were avoiding paying the tolls, had license or registration violations or harbored any criminal activities.
The following were the results of 295 vehicles stopped, according to police:
- 121 toll violations
- 233 citations
- 141 warnings
- 36 registration plate violations (including altered plates)
- 1 driver arrested on an outstanding warrant
- 5 motorists charged with theft for intentionally avoiding paying tolls
- 136 lane violations
- 1 drug arrest
In addition, police took 10 commercial vehicle drivers out of service after finding they had suspended licenses.
The toll patrol comes two months after The Washington Post found that Maryland Transportation Authority hasn't been penalizing violators for not paying tolls, other than sending them letters, and $6.7 million statewide has accumulated in the last five years in unpaid violations.
Maryland's transportation secretary, comptroller and lawmakers are working on ways to provide the Maryland Transportation Authority with stronger enforcement mechanisms, according to The Baltimore Sun, which reported that one state delegate has a bill already in the works.
The Maryland State Police said last week's toll patrol was "an overwhelming success" and the agency plans to hold similar operations in the future.
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