Temporary plates won’t get you out of a toll bill

Dec 1, 2016, 10:46 AM

toll lanes, toll, 405 toll lanes...

The I-405 toll lanes in Kirkland. (WSDOT)


There’s still confusion about the rules of tolling in Western Washington, even within the state’s department of transportation.

KIRO Radio listener Dave Walters says he was having trouble finding information about temporary plates and new cars on the Good to Go website. He wanted to know if cars with temp plates are tolled. He reached out to the customer service center for an answer, and the representative told him he would not be tolled.

Related: Basic Washington traffic laws that are broken all the time

“Vehicles with temporary license plates are not charged a toll due to the placement of the cameras not being able to view the back window,” the rep said in an email.

It turns out that representative is wrong. Cars with temporary paper plates are tolled, at least according to the toll division.

“We can work with the Department of Licensing and send a toll bill on a temporary plate, as long as people are installing them in the correct location,” said toll division spokesperson Ethan Bergerson.

If the plate is obscured or in the wrong spot and the cameras can’t read it, the state will send the picture to an employee for a closer look.

Bergerson said the state has a good track record of finding drivers and giving them a bill.

“Of all the trips on all the toll roads in the state, only about 1.5 percent of them are images that can’t be read,” he said.

So for drivers with temporary license plates, be sure to add that plate to your Good to Go account the day you get it so you can save the $2 per toll, and don’t forget to update it when you get your actual license plates. Otherwise you can expect a surprise toll bill in the mail.

Send Chris a traffic tip at @KIROTraffic on Twitter or email him.


I-405 expansion...

Chris Sullivan

Sullivan: I-405 expansion to widen freeway in Bothell is underway

We've all seen I-405 expanding between Bellevue and Redmond, but construction to widen the freeway north of Bothell is now underway as well.

1 day ago

revive i-5 seattle...

Nate Connors

I-5 repair work to slow spring breakers, baseball fans this weekend

Beginning Friday night, three lanes of I-5 north between Albro Place and the West Seattle Bridge through Monday morning at 5 a.m.

4 days ago

Photo: April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Washington drivers can face higher insurance ra...

Nate Connors

Has your insurance gone up? Rates can take a hike for distracted drivers

April is Distracted Drivers Awareness Month. The President of NW Insurance Council says it has been working on prevention for years.

6 days ago

Signs in the eight light rail stations will provide real-time travel data for trains and destinatio...

Chris Sullivan

It’s not the whole enchilada, but light rail to roll on Eastside this month

Light rail service on the Eastside begins later this month. The eight stations are ready to roll. Test trains are running on the tracks.

6 days ago

Image: All general-purpose lanes were blocked leaving just the left HOV lane open on I-5 south of 2...

Steve Coogan

Military vehicle accident on I-5 north in Federal Way cleared after snarling traffic

A rollover vehicle accident Wednesday caused significant backups and delays for multiple hours before being cleared.

7 days ago

Rapid-Ride G Line...

Micki Gamez

RapidRide G Line: A new bus route connecting riders to mass transit

King County Metro's (KCM) Al Sanders said the RapidRide G Line will kick off shortly after the Lynwood extension is done in early September.

7 days ago

Temporary plates won’t get you out of a toll bill