Unmounted E-ZPasses to be penalized with higher tolls

(AP Photo/Daniel Hulshizer)

JAMESTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — If your E-ZPass is not mounted properly to your windshield, you put your and others’ safety at risk and can hold up traffic, and if you’re caught at the Newport Pell Bridge, you’ll pay a higher toll.

The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA) announced Monday it is launching a campaign to urge motorists to mount their transponders correctly.

About a thousand drivers need assistance at the Newport Pell toll plaza every month, RITBA officials said. When the E-Z Pass is not installed right, including if a driver has it in their hand — reaching out the window, holding and waving the transponder — it creates safety concerns and delays, and frustrates other drivers.

Linda Maclean said she’s worked at the bridge for almost a decade – and every day, she said she sees drivers using unmounted passes.

“I would say probably 50 percent of the time,” she said. “I’ve actually seen them back up into other cars because they’re more focused on getting the gate to go up than they are looking in the rear view mirror.”

Starting now and for the next four weeks, the pitch is being made to mount your transponder properly. RITBA is also sending out email, social media postings, and posting signs to spread the word.

Then, on Monday, July 18, higher toll penalties will be enforced. If your E-Z Pass is not properly mounted, instead of the 83-cent discounted toll for a two-axle passenger vehicle, you’ll be charged the full toll of $4 — more for larger vehicles — as if you didn’t have a pass at all.

Furthermore, repeat offenders could be hit with an administration fee of $25, or risk having to forfeit their transponders altogether.

Buddy Croft, the executive director of RITBA, said in a news release that the penalties are similar to actions other tolling agencies have started assessing.

The correct way to mount a transponder is to use the included mounting strips to affix it to “the upper center portion of your windshield, behind the rear view mirror, at least one inch to the right of the center support of the mirror and at least one inch below the top edge of the windshield, or below the tinted section of the glass,” RITBA’s website says.

If you need new mounting strips, RITBA advises you to call their customer service center at (877) 743-9727.

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