So about a week ago I got a notice from the Illinois Tollway saying I had three unpaid toll violations.
They were kind enough to provide me with a blurry picture of something that might have been my car but might also have been anyone else's car, and the dates and times I illegally blazed through the tolls.
Thanks to my blogging, I had a pretty accurate record of where I was on each date in question. On one of the dates, I had in fact been visiting a friend in Chicago; but on the other two, I wasn't even in the same state.
So I called up the good people at the Illinois Tollway, since the bottom of the notice said that I had the right to request high-quality images of the violations in question.
My CSR told me that she would be happy to mail me the high-res images, but that it would cost $1 per image -- a fact which my notice conveniently left out.
And then she said something surprising. "Um... I think there must have been a mistake. I'm looking at these images right now, and they're of three different cars."
We finally agreed that one of the three cars was mine (she described it to me over the phone) and the other two were most certainly not. I also found out (because I didn't remember not paying a toll on that particular trip) that sometimes drivers who do pay tolls still get recorded as violations "if they don't stop their car long enough at the toll stand."
At that point there was no real way of proving whether I did or didn't pay a toll in Chicago on that particular day, so I paid the fine for the single incident and the other two, as they were clearly not my car, got dismissed.
But... seriously? Three different cars? And I had to pay to see the images that proved they weren't my car? And you can get charged a violation if you don't stop the car long enough as you throw your quarters and dimes down the chute? What kind of an operation is the Illinois Tollway running?
And how many people just pay up, without doing any fact-checking?