Why I think E-ZPass is Useless

Back in July 2020, my wife and I finally decided to get an E-ZPass. We do frequent trips where we cross bridges, tunnels, and roads that utilize it and with the world wide condition, we were thinking it would be faster, easier, and cheaper just to get an E-ZPass for all of our future travels.

To make a very long story short, it really did not do what we thought it would. When we pulled up to booth after booth, the device would not register. At one point, we stopped at an E-ZPass station in Delaware, and they said that while they felt bad for me, they could not help me because they can only assist customers with a Delaware issued E-ZPass. Mine was Virginia issued. I was absolutely livid.

Upon returning home, I decided to look into a tip my brother in-law shared with me during our travels. He remembered reading somewhere that certain vehicles, and more specifically, my 2003 Buick Rendezvous has been known to have a windshield that does not work well, or at all, with E-ZPass. I researched into that more and in fact found that to be true. There is a list of vehicles that I found on a document from the E-ZPass website that listed the Buick Rendezvous as a “Special Vehicle.”

There is apparently something in the windshield of a Buick Rendezvous that prevents the E-ZPass transponder from being read by the booths. That is really weird, because I do believe before I owned the Rendezvous, my dad replaced the windshield. I guess even replacement windshields have that same issue?

My biggest beef with all of this is the following. When I walked into the E-ZPass store (I didn’t buy online), WHY DID THEY NOT TELL ME MY CAR WAS ON THE SPECIAL VEHCILES LIST? They knew what vehicle I had because they manually entered it into the computer. The system should have red flagged that immediately. It is very frustrating.

To add insult to injury, the E-ZPass rate for the Cheasapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, which we travel across frequently, is no cheaper than if you were to pay by cash or card at the booth. Yes, they take card. But the rates are all the same. The only advantage to E-ZPass is you don’t have to stop for the length of time to exchange money. Not much of a real time saving if I’m honest. I do find it humorous that on the CBBT website they use the silhouette of a Nissan GT-R as the reference vehicle and they show it can apparently tow a three axle trailer.

Overall, I do like when we use our Ford Focus to go on trips. The E-ZPass makes traveling in that car a breeze. But, 50% is a fail. E-ZPass, you really should let people know.

Thankfully, most of the time the booths just run the plate and charge me through the E-ZPass that way, so I still get the possible discounts, if applicable. Which leads to a whole new point. Why is the device needed at all? Just scan plates and bill. And at that point, E-ZPass is just the middle man. Stupid E-ZPass. Absolutely useless.

Speed enforced by “aircraft”?

Speed enforced by aircraft sign on the side of the highway in Suffolk Virginia.

The thought crossed my mind the other day that it is surprising law enforcement is not utilizing drones to enforce speeding.

Recently, a record for the fastest production car was attempted by SSC in the Tuatara. While there is a lot of drama behind the run, what I want to focus on is the use of time and markings on the road to gauge the speed of a vehicle. A few YouTubers, most notably one that I watch, Shmee150, questioned the top speed run based on the time it took for the car to reach certain points on the road according to the video.

That concept is what is used by law enforcement to track speeding cars by aircraft. They set up lines on the road a particular distance apart and then time how long it takes the car to go from line to line. It should not be difficult for a State Highway Patrol officer to deploy a small drone to fly up and hover over the highway to watch traffic cross from line to line. And now days, with technology being as it is, it could possibly even catch license plates to mail the driver a ticket. Either that or they have the drone send them the results and the trooper can be further up the road to catch the speeding culprit. The drone would relay the proof to the officer of the culprit speeding. Drones would also be hard to spot by those trying to get away with speeding. Planes and helicopters are pretty easy to spot in the sky, and if you knew what they were doing so close to the road, you can keep your right foot in check. Drones are much smaller making them almost unnoticeable until it is too late.

Drones are significantly cheaper to fly and maintain than the standard aircraft that is/was used to monitor speed from the air. Granted, here in Virginia, they have not used aircraft to monitor speeds in quite some time. (A whole side blog could be how much road signs cost which is probably a reason these haven’t been removed.) But, it wouldn’t surprise me that if in the near future drones will be used to catch speeding motorists. They can fly themselves pretty much, are easy to transport, deploy, and are inexpensive to build and maintain. They could provide a large return on investment in a very short period of time. I wonder what why this has not happened yet? At the same time, I am glad it hasn’t happened because I think the freedom of the open road is still free. Drones would begin to drastically cut in on the freedom one feels on the road.