Pikepass customers who have resisted getting the new windshield sticker tags soon will find that their old units no longer work.
The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority will send out a fourth — and final — notice warning customers that the old units will be deactivated. The notices will be sent out the middle of next month, Glen Branscum, director of Pikepass operations, said Monday.
About 25 percent of the Pikepass customers — or 150,000 of the Turnpike Authority's 580,000 Pikepass account holders — are refusing to turn in their old units and replace them with the windshield stickers, Branscum said. Some of the account holders are commercial ones, such as truck companies, and have dozens of vehicles. It's expected the turnpike will issue about 1.2 million windshield stickers.
Customers who already have received three notices and have not responded to any of them will receive a yellow postcard advising them that their old Pikepass units will be deactivated, he said.
People who receive the yellow deactivation postcards will have 10 days to contact the Pikepass office, Branscum said.
“If they don't contact us in 10 days, then we're going to turn off their Pikepass,” he said. “It will be turned off and the notice says that. We're trying to get their attention with the notice.”
Pikepass customers who ignore that notice will have their units deactivated, he said. The units no longer will work and motorists who would continue to drive through the Pikepass readers on the state's 10 turnpikes would face getting a fine. Fines start at $25 per instance and increase to a maximum fine of $75 per instance.
It could get even more expensive if a state trooper observes a motorist driving through a Pikepass reader without payment being registered; the motorist could be issued a ticket that has a $200 fine, Branscum said.
Tags can't be shared
The Turnpike Authority started using windshield sticker tags in March 2011. Customers were notified when they could exchange their old units for the tags at no cost. Unlike the old Pikepass units, customers are required to have a sticker tag for each vehicle; they cannot be moved from one vehicle to another. The tag stops working as soon as it is removed from a windshield.
The Turnpike Authority switched to the tags because the hard case units are no longer being produced.
Pikepass customers will need a tag for each vehicle they own; in the past, they received one hard-case unit that could be switched between vehicles.
The sticker tags will solve a problem with hard-case units that are switched between the same account holder's vehicles, Turnpike Authority spokesman Jack Damrill said. The tags should increase accuracy; when the hard-case units aren't mounted correctly, electronic readers at the turnpike gates can misread or not read the tags.
The sticker tag mounts on the windshield under the rearview mirror, similar to where the hard-case tag is placed. It should be about 4 inches below the top windshield frame.
Some problems have been reported with customers who have upper-end vehicles, such as Range Rovers and Mercedes-Benz vehicles, Damrill said. The readers can't penetrate their windshields to read the stickers.
The Turnpike Authority has alternate stickers that mount on the bumpers for those and commercial trucks, such as those hauling vehicles, because the trailer overhangs the cab's windshields and prevents the readers from reading data on the stickers.
The Turnpike Authority approved a proposal Monday to buy 200,000 windshield stickers and 5,000 bumper tags at a cost of $1.97 million. The Turnpike Authority hopes to have all the windshield stickers distributed to Pikepass customers by the end of this year.