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Florida Transportation Officials Look To Keep Toll Violations Out Of Court

Dianne Gutierrez-Saccetti speaking before the Senate Transportation Committee.
The Florida Channel

Florida transportation officials presented lawmakers with a new plan Thursday for handling unpaid tolls.  The department’s goal is to handle violations in-house rather than sending it to the courts.

Up until last February, the Department of Transportation dealt with delinquent toll violations by issuing what’s known as a uniform traffic citation that sent the case to court.  But Department official Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti says her agency is better equipped to handle the problem. 

“Once we do that and send it to the court, we lose control,” Gutierrez-Scaccetti says.  “We have no ability from that point forward to collect the toll and dismiss the uniform traffic citation, because it’s in the court’s hands.  In the registration hold process we retain full control.”

Gutierrez-Scaccetti says the courts can impose harsh penalties – sometimes going so far as suspended licenses.  

Instead, her agency is transitioning to a system of registration holds.

“Under the registration hold process, it is far more customer friendly,” she says.  “That customer can pay the toll, can get the registration hold released immediately and not have to go through a lengthy court process.”

Gutierrez-Scaccetti says the new model will be more responsive than the courts.  But to fully implement the plan, Transportation officials will need the cooperation of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles as well as the state’s tax collectors.

Nick Evans came to Tallahassee to pursue a masters in communications at Florida State University. He graduated in 2014, but not before picking up an internship at WFSU. While he worked on his degree Nick moved from intern, to part-timer, to full-time reporter. Before moving to Tallahassee, Nick lived in and around the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years. He listens to far too many podcasts and is a die-hard 49ers football fan. When Nick’s not at work he likes to cook, play music and read.