A fleet manager's No. 1 rule is to budget time wisely to efficiently manage a fleet’s vehicles and drivers to keep operations running smoothly.
Whether it’s working around driver scheduling conflicts or dealing with vehicle maintenance issues, responsibilities that require immediate attention can pile up.
As a fleet grows, job tasks and volume can multiply. Things that were once relatively simple – like resolving occasional toll violations -- can become a snowball moving downhill and that snowball can become a mountain of its own. Depending on the number of vehicles and drivers you oversee, it can be easy to miss toll fees or violations as they arrive in the mail, and the time it takes to dispute and pay fees can keep you from focusing on your day-to-day operations. Fines and violations – and contesting them – can be a time suck. That’s why it’s so important to understand what creates those fines in the first place.
There are many reasons fleets can receive fines. Some are due to drivers who use the wrong toll lanes or don’t comply with the rules governing the use of toll facilities, or simply failure to pay a toll fee on time. If you rely on paper toll bills, it’s easy to set aside bills and tell yourself, “I’ll get to it later,” and forget, or you have someone who must dedicate hours of time to paying them. It happens. But, if you don’t pay on time, you can expect another notice from the tolling authority with a late payment violation.
Depending on how many vehicles are in your fleet or how far your business delivers goods, there are several other reasons you might receive toll violation: using a toll lane without a valid or deactivated transponder; using an in-state transponder for an out-of-state toll; entering an express or toll lane improperly; using a toll lane with insufficient funds in your transponder account; accessing a toll lane in a vehicle other than the registered fleet vehicle on the toll pass; using a toll lane with an unregistered vehicle or using a transponder that has not been mounted properly.
While drivers shouldn’t break these general guidelines, every state has different toll rules. Knowing what can cause a toll violation in the states and locations drivers are using toll roads in is critical.
If/when you receive a violation, there are things you can do to manage it and ensure it’s been rightfully issued.
First, check the identification information to ensure the name and license tag number are correct. If the license tag image is blurry, it’s possible clerical errors were made, which can cause the state’s department of motor vehicles to send a toll violation notice to the wrong address.
Does your company still own the truck that was cited for a violation? You likely won’t be liable for the toll charges if the truck was recently sold. If you have accounts open with tolling authorities, check to make sure your transponder or pass is still active and current. If you have a prepaid toll account, make sure there’s enough money to cover tolls.
If you determine a toll violation is fair or needs to be disputed, pay the charges or file the dispute as soon as possible. Some toll violation notices give you as little as two weeks to act. The deadlines vary state-to-state, so it’s important to read the notice carefully and plan accordingly. If you ignore or forget to resolve toll violations, it can lead to additional fines or even the suspension of a vehicle.
The sensors and cameras tolling authorities use to capture vehicle information aren’t always accurate. So, it’s more common than one might think, and if you don’t carefully look at your toll bills you might miss opportunities to recoup money that’s rightfully yours or remove incorrect violations.
If you notice an issue with a violation, call the tolling authority’s customer service line or go online to register a dispute. When you fill out a dispute form, provide as much reasoning as to why you’re disputing the violation and include any evidence you have that can support your case.
Educating your drivers on what to do when they approach toll roads in a variety of scenarios is the best way to reduce the number of toll violations your fleet receives. Drivers should be aware of all the tolled roads they may encounter along their route and whether their truck is registered with the tolling authority. To make life easier and more productive for drivers, equipping your trucks with transponders or toll passes on all trucks that pass toll sites can significantly reduce violations., not to mention the time drivers can save by using toll roads instead of re-directing their routes to bypass them. This can also alleviate back-office work in dealing with tolls if you’re proactive in keeping the correct transponders or passes in the vehicles.
An even better solution many fleets are finding useful is managing toll usage and violations is through using toll management software. With providers like, Bestpass, you can easily register your trucks with all the tolling authorities that manage the toll roads your trucks use. Instead of managing each individual truck’s toll account, the software consolidates all truck and transponder information into one account and a single bill. If a truck receives a violation, it’s simple to identify which truck and the correct point of contact for the tolling authority.
Resolving toll violations doesn’t need to be as tedious as it may seem. There are plenty of things you can do to prevent them from happening in the first place and to handle them when they do quickly.
Jason Walker is Chief Revenue Officer of Bestpass, the leader in toll payment and management solutions for commercial fleets and owner operators. In this role, Walker oversees the sales and marketing teams and supports revenue management functions. Walker joined Bestpass in 2022 with more than 10 years of experience in the trucking industry and 25 years of experience driving results across multiple industries and SaaS companies.