We're an affiliate. If you use our partner links we may earn a commsission from sales at no extra cost to you. Thank you! Read the full disclosure here.

How do truck drivers pay for tolls? Tips for everyone

Among the many decisions that truck drivers make each day, is choosing the most direct route in order to get to their deliveries on time.

 If you’ve driven for any length of time you know;

Toll roads are often the quickest way from point A to Point B (which is why they were established). Using toll roads does cost money which is more money truck drivers and company’s have to shell out. Unfortunately, they’re not going anywhere anytime soon so how do truck drivers pay for tolls?

It’s not if but when you have to use them so as a truck driver whether you’re new or have been doing it a while to have payment methods set up. You need to be prepared for the expense as well as the frequency in which you’ll be stopping to pay a fee.

This short guide will help you get familiar with some of the states that charge tolls, a rough idea of how much you can expect to pay, what happens when you don’t pay a toll, and how to keep track of the expenses you’ve paid so your employer can reimburse you. For some truck drivers they may be deductible on your taxes.

Having a general idea of what to expect makes your time on the road go smoother and help you plan your trips just a bit differently. Additionally, you’ll be able to better plan for your next delivery by keeping costs as low as possible, which is important in the era of Covid. 

Having some idea of what to expect will also help to avoid being fined for failing to pay a toll (like late fees) because you weren’t aware that one existed on the highway you’re traveling.

How Do Truck Drivers Pay For Tolls?

Truck drivers pay for tolls by either using cash or utilizing services like EZ pass, NationalPass or Sun Pass. All receipts must be saved as supporting documents for DOT hours of service rules.

Which States Have Toll Roads?

This is a list of states that have toll roads, High Occupancy Lanes and other highway management systems:

  • Alabama
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virgina
  • Washington
  • West Virginia

You can follow this link for a more detailed list. 

Methods to pay for tolls

Below are the most common services used for toll payment.

EZ Pass

EZ-Pass is an association with a presence in 17 US states. It can be purchased from one agency and used at any EZ-Pass tollbooth. It allows the motorist to quickly pass through tollbooths without needing to stop and speak to an agent.

The EZ-Pass battery-operated machine is mounted to the front windshield of a truck and activated by pre-paying for the service. When an account is in good standing, the motorist has no problem passing through tollbooths in record time. Past due accounts cause the machine to be deactivated, which means that truckers will need to pay for all tolls they encounter until they resolve the issue with their account.

NationalPass

NATIONALPASS provides access to all toll roads in every state without the need to have multiple transponders. It’s available for purchase online and makes it easy to pass through toll booths without stopping. Considering that many of the loads you drive involve interstate travel, you’ll want to invest in an option that covers all the locations you visit frequently.

Purchasing a single pass and adding money to your account is the easiest way to deal with travel between two or more states. You have options to choose from depending on the region of the country you work in most. EZ-Pass is one option, and NATIONAL PASS is another that can save you time, money, and effort.

The battery life on transponders is said to last at least ten years. As long as the device is maintained, it shouldn’t need replacing anytime soon. If the transponder is faulty, contacting the issuing agency for advice before you’re issued a violation notice or bill is advisable.

Cash

If your passing through a toll booth that’s being managed by an attendant you’ll be able to use cash. Of course this will slow you down some vs using a transponder. Make sure you save your receipt for reimbursement!

Is there a toll pass for all states?

Toll roads do not exist in all 50 states. Some states have long stretches of roadway without them. Other states don’t charge tolls at all.

For the states that do charge for tolls, there is a toll pass available that you can purchase and fund monthly. As mentioned above, EZ-Pass and NATIONALPASS are two options that can help you travel through tollbooths quickly and effortlessly. Each issue a transponder that can be affixed to the front windshield of your truck and read that way.

As long as there is enough funding to cover the toll fee, you’ll have no problem passing through the tollbooth with ease. If you’ve run out of funds and not had a chance to replenish your account, you’ll need to stop each time you encounter a manned tollbooth. It helps you avoid fines.

Investing in a single pass can save you time and money, especially if you travel through multiple states with tolls. It’s something that you can do from anywhere you’re at, too, because one transponder works for every state you pass through with NATIONALPASS. EZ-Pass has specific states that it works in, which you can learn about online.

States without toll roads receive funding through taxes to keep roads in good working order. Their citizens know how important it is to have safe highways, by-ways, and interstates. They don’t mind paying extra to ensure the timely delivery of necessary goods driven to them by truck drivers such as yourself.

If you’re not sure which states are covered by your pass, ask. You can inquire with the issuing agency to see if the place you’re traveling to charges tolls. It’s a gesture that can prevent you from being fined because you didn’t have enough money on your account.

toll booth worker

What happens if I don’t pay the toll?

The tollbooth’s camera takes a photo of your truck and its license plate. You are then issued a violation notice or bill. You must take care of any outstanding debt right away to remain in good standing as a truck driver and be able to continue to drive loads to their intended destination.

No one will stop you if you don’t pay the toll. There may not be enough money on your EZ-Pass or NATIONALPASS account, causing the issue. The transponder may not be working correctly, either, which gives you a reason to dispute a violation notice or bill.

Keep in mind that you can pay hefty fines for not paying a toll. A small expense quadruples in cost if you’re not careful. Checking your pre-paid toll account frequently helps you avoid trouble and answers “How do truck drivers pay for tolls?”.

In some states your license may suspended or revoked and a warrant may be issued for unpaid fines. 

If you’re not sure if the transponder works on your truck, stop and have the tollbooth worker assist you before passing through. They can be of assistance to you and prevent you from being fined. It’s worth the delay to keep your license in good standing so you can continue to drive a truck long-term.

If you repeatedly don’t pay tolls, Notices of Toll Evasion get sent to you. In many counties, you can pay them within a specific time without being fined. If you pay after the grace period, however, expect to pay steep penalties.

The company that you drive the truck for appreciates your attention to detail with this matter. They do not want your driving privileges to be restricted, nor do they want you to pay fines for expenses they reimburse you for monthly. Ensuring your account is fully funded before embarking on a trip is just as vital as checking your headlights to make sure they’re functioning.

In some states your license may suspended or revoked and a warrant may be issued for unpaid fines.

What do toll fees pay for?

As a trucker, the tolls that you pay keep roads in excellent condition so that you’re able to travel them safely (yes, that can be argued for some states!). The money paid is supposed to go toward the repair and maintenance of the highways and interstates. If you notice that some roads are easier to travel on than others, it’s due in part to the tolls paid by all motorists including commercial vehicles. .

If you’ve ever encountered a pothole in a big rig or a rough stretch of road, you know how difficult it is to stay in control of your truck. State officials and legislatures authorize the toll and release the funds to do repair work on stretches of highways and interstates.

How is the money spent?

Hiring contractors and other labor costs, materials (asphalt oil for a chip seal for example) and supply costs make up the bulk of the expense paid by tolls. When you encounter road work while driving, it’s made possible by the fees and other taxes you’ve paid to use the road. It allows work crews to take care of a potential issue quickly and safely.

From the trucks that they drive to the equipment they use to repave roads or fill in potholes, toll money takes care of the bulk of the expense. Rest assured that the money that you pay and your company reimburses you for is put to good use, although in some areas you have to wonder!. Traveling down a smooth stretch of highway without your teeth rattling is always nice!

Areas of the country that do not charge tolls must raise money other ways to take care of roads, usually through registration fees and other forms of taxation. Tolls are a necessary expense that provides truckers and the public a safer and more convenient by providing direct routes to destinations. 

Experience Smoother Travels By Knowing How and When to Pay Tolls

Now that you know the importance of paying tolls and how to do so efficiently as a truck driver, you’ll experience fewer delays while traveling. You’ll know which payment methods are accepted by the tollbooths and the best way of keeping track of the money you spent on tolls. Road work and multiple tollbooths won’t slow you down.

Instead, you’ll be able to account for the delays in your delivery schedule. You’ll also be able to be reimbursed quickly by your employer because they’ll have your expense report in hand faster. Thanks to your excellent attention to detail, you’ll have a running log of tolls paid so that you can submit them to your employer. You won’t be stuck paying out of pocket expenses for the many tolls you encounter while on the job.

how do truck drivers pay for tolls

Avoiding legal trouble by paying the tolls on time is highly recommended. Having underpaid fines in certain states can lead to license suspension or revocation and in some places a warrant for arrest. 

You don’t want tickets marring your driving record. Learning which states have tolls allows you to pay cash or use a payment system to pay the unmanned toll booths or sail through the pre-paid pass lane without delay. 

There are many self-service booths throughout the country that you’ll encounter while working. Having an idea where they are on the road helps you have the appropriate amount of change to pay the fee without issue.

Have some extra time on your hands? Check out these articles:

Best mini fridge for truckers

Best power inverter for semi truck

Scroll to Top