Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions, or personal experiences.

If you drive a lot like I do, you see things.  These things are not necessarily good, nor filled with common sense.

The Massachusetts Turnpike debuted the overhead electronic tolls in 2016, says Masslive.com.  The I-95 Hampton tolls have been an ORT (Open Road Toll) since 2010, according to NH.gov.

Ginny Rogers
Ginny Rogers

I remember when New Hampshire opened the 2 lanes of road each way, and you could drive right through at 65 mph.   It was innovative and exciting to not have to stop at a toll booth.

Recently, I was driving west on the Mass Turnpike, I-90, and encountered a number of slowdowns in heavier traffic.  There were no accidents on either side of the highway, so I wondered why the left and middle lanes would slow to a stop, then speed up again, then slow to a stop again.  It seemed to be a strange traffic pattern, until I realized the cause.

Police lights by night
Alex_Schmidt via townsquaremedia lab

The traffic was unpredictable because drivers are unpredictable.  It seems as people approached the overhead gantry toll at each exit (there are no toll booths on I-90 anymore), the drivers would slow down, go through the gantry, then speed up again.

When traffic is heavy, this creates a real problem.  You see, drivers thought the overhead tolls clocked your speed as well, and they could get a speeding ticket.

mads enevqvist via unsplash.com
mads enevqvist via unsplash.com

This also happens every day when I drive north on I-95 through the Hampton tolls. There are only two left lanes with the Open Toll Road (ORT), but drivers again think their speed is being monitored and could get a speeding ticket.

Here's the deal, folks.  Yes, these overhead tolls DO clock your speed, not to give you a speeding ticket, but rather to ensure the tolls are working properly at various speeds, so people are not charged a toll inadvertently, nor overcharged. It's all about the accuracy of the billing.

Police Officer Writing Ticket

Here's what nh.gov says about speeding through tolls with the E-Z Pass.

 NHDOT has no authorization to issue speeding tickets. This is a Department of Safety - NH State Police issue. If a State Trooper is monitoring speed through the toll lanes, and you exceed the posted speed through the E-ZPass lane, you could be issued a summons.

In Massachusetts, there is no plan to use the tolls as a way to issue speeding tickets.  However this is done in a few states in work zones, but Masslive.com says it is with "mixed reviews".

attachment-Untitled design (48)

So the next time you go through an overhead tolls going 65 or 70 mph, please don't slow down.  You won't get a speeding ticket, but could start a traffic jam that doesn't dissipate for hours.  Just drive through, please and thank you.

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