Tollway mistakes caught on tape

April 28, 2008 8:54:38 PM PDT
If you don't have an EZ Tag, don't use an EZ Tag lane on the tollway, right? Well, for some drivers, that's easier said than done. It may seem like a no-brainer to not use the EZ Tag lane if you don't have an EZ Tag. Video we obtained from the Harris County Toll Road Authority shows for some it's not that obvious. Officers want you to see it as a safety reminder that these lanes are not for stopping.

All around the tollway, they are clearly marked -- EZ Tag to the left and cash to the right.

Warnings on the lanes themselves, warnings on signs and yet, not everyone gets it.

"The EZ Tag lanes are non-stop lanes," said Lt. Jeff Cook of the Harris County Precinct One Constable's Office.

Toll road authorities shared alarming video with us they want to see less of. That is vehicles just parked in the EZ Tag lanes.

In the video in the media player above, a driver an SUV realized he made the wrong lane decision and drives through a barricade. Another driver gets out of his car and dodges a lane of traffic to pay the toll.

"That's like stopping on I-10 in the fast lanes during rush hour and getting out and walking around your vehicle, it's dangerous," Lt. Cook said.

Sometimes the mistakes turn more tragic. In January, witnesses told accident investigators a woman was backing the wrong way in an EZ Tag lane. A deputy constable crashed into the back of her car. The woman's 3 year old daughter died.

In just two months time, the tollroad incident management division has recorded a number of situations like these. If you're caught in the wrong lane, authorities say never stop, never get out, instead keep going and settle up later.

"It's not safe for anyone on the road when a car stops in the fast lane of a highway," Lt. Cook said.

The officers who patrol these roads really want to get the message out. They plan to post more warnings on those big highway message boards. But again if you find yourself in the EZ Tag lane without one, keep going and call the EZ Tag violations department the next day to pay over the phone. That number is 281-875-3279.

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