This is a sidebar to the story “Maryland charges big fines for skipping small tolls”

In Massachusetts, the fee structure for pay by license plate hasn’t changed since the state implemented all electronic tolling in 2016, according to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

If the first invoice isn’t paid within 30 days, a $1 fee is assessed for each violation. After another 30 days, another $1 fee applies. Invoices more than 90 days overdue incur $1 per violation and a $20 RMV/DMV fee, and the vehicle registration is flagged for non-renewal.

Fines, fees and penalties for unpaid use of the EZDriveMA system cannot exceed $500 per year per registered vehicle.

The collection rate is high for vehicles marked at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles because vehicle registrations and/or licenses cannot be renewed until the customer makes payment to MassDOT, the department reports. Disputes are handled internally through an ombudsman or the MassDOT legal department.

Maryland Del. Al Carr said this model would solve many of the complaints he hears that Maryland’s fee structure is disproportionately harsh for the offense. Asked if a $5 fine would cover the costs of late invoice billing, he said he expects costs would go down.

“In Massachusetts where they’ve set a reasonable fee, there’s not a lot of costs,” Carr said. “Just the costs of mailing out the notices and then people pay up when it’s time to renew. There’s not all that extra cost of court processes or Central Collection Unit or all the other things we’re doing in Maryland.”

Maryland is not the harshest state for penalties, however. In Delaware, failure to pay tolls can result in a theft of services criminal charge, which is a felony. The Wilmington News Journal reported last year that the top violator owed $174,384.25, and that in 2008 the Delaware State Police took out warrants on a Maryland man who owed $4,748.

–Meg Tully

megctully@gmail.com