Monday, March 7, 2011

Drivers Detained for Paying Tolls With U.S. Currency

A man in Tampa, Fla., has uncovered what he calls an illegal scheme by the state's turnpike authority to detain motorists who pay tolls with $20, $50 or $100 bills until they disclose personal information recorded by the state.
Joel Chandler first became aware of the practice when he paid a $1 toll with a $100 bill, and the toll taker refused to let his car pass until he filled out a personal information form. He then started testing the system, taping his encounters as he went through toll booths.
"This is a serious, serious criminal offense," Chandler told Tampa's WTSP-TV, "to illegally detain somebody without legal authority."
Chandler's brother joined the video investigation and not only found the practice widespread, but also found one toll worker who threatened to call the Florida Highway Patrol if he did not surrender the information.
When Chandler complained about the detentions, however, he says state officials denied the practice and engaged in "a very concerted effort to cover it up."

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