High Tech Big Brother vs. a Rock?

The recent news of 50,000 drivers being overbilled in Central Texas turn out to be a misaligned toll antenna (tag reader), perhaps skewed by a knock, high winds or vibration, according to tollroadsnews.com. Some were double billed, and as I reported some days ago, other drivers were not billed at all.

It’s unknown whether the high tech toll antenna, a flat overhead RFID reader, was a victim of sabotage via an old fashioned rock, or just the wind, or perhaps it was just installed incorrectly.

Other electronic tolling problems have popped up in other areas of the country. Some small cars have been billed at truck rates, which would more than quadruple the billing rate and people don't even notice the quadruple charge!

And, there have been many more billing issues:

In this universe, where there is an action, there is often a reaction. Creative sabotage appears to be part of the natural order of things, when big brother practices electronic harrasment.

Even celebrity cook Gordon Ramsay, of the TV show Hell's Kitchen, offered his favored sabotage approach for speed camera’s on a talk show last year:
"Bit of a chef's secret really," Ramsay said. "So the secret thing to do is get a catering pack of clean film and about half past two in the morning there's hardly any traffic on the road. Just pull over, jump on the side and wrap the thing in clean film. When it flashes it sort of smudges the number plate and it doesn't look sabotaged."

"My favorite is the Dutch trick," Clarkson (the host) said. "There's a tiny hole in the corner and they spray that quick-expanding builder's foam and it just bursts out of everywhere. It's really ruined."
I suggest not using the tolls at all, but if you do use them, look at your bills carefully, and if you find a problem, call your local TV news station to properly shine the light on the bureaucratic crooks who are shifting our freeways to toll ways.

Remember, the double billing of 50,000 drivers was first exposed by one man, Marcus Davis, making one call to one news station. Thank you Marcus!


Anonymous said...

915mhz is a dedicated frequency, so there's no way to jam RFID without running into FCC violations. One complaint from the toll authority and they'd be all over it.

Anonymous said...

After reading the Tollroad News article about the double billing or no billing, it is a real confidence wrecker (if there ever was any confidence). Sorry, but make excuses as much as you like, there is no reason for mistakes like this to happen once a system is placed into service. Maybe an occasional "no read" due to hardware glitches, but these software problems should not be foisted upon the public to find. As they readily admitted, they were "too busy putting in more systems" to worry about the ones already in place ! Another "half baked cake" compliments of TxDot.