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Traffic Talk: Pikepass is more than a matter of convenience

Don Gammill: It's up to you as to whether you use Pikepass on Oklahoma turnpikes, but failing to pay toll results in a penalty for all violators.
By DON GAMMILL Published: April 30, 2012

OK. I'll admit it. I'm a Pikepasser. In all honesty, I'm glad I am.

I'll also admit I resisted Pikepass for quite some time. But family circumstances caused me to rethink that.

Pikepass has saved me a pretty fair share of time and money over the past couple of years. It's more than convenience when saving a few miles and minutes is important.

Like many others, I had an experience — or two ... OK, three — where I was an unintentional toll violator. As soon as possible, I contacted the Pikepass or Oklahoma Turnpike Authority offices to fess up and find out what I should do. I can report that the people I talked to were very friendly and very helpful.

I will say that mailing in a toll that was less than the cost of the stamp and the envelope was a bit odd, but if it saves me having to pay a fine, I can live with it. Even mailing was cheaper than a couple gallons of gas to drive to the office.

Not everyone went my route on squaring the debt. Some have found that it can cost them much more than I paid, especially if they've had more than one violation. By law, the penalty was $25 for the first violation, $50 for a second and $75 for a third.

Fine reduced

They got a little break, however, when the penalty dropped last week.

Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill that cut the fine for second and beyond toll violations to a flat $25 fee.

So all those violators who had to fork over cash to pay their fines complained enough to get the law changed, right? Wrong.

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