NY officials deny 'E-Z Pass speed trap' coming

In order to squelch a rumor running rampant over the information superhighway, New York transportation authorities have been forced to deny that they're plotting to use the state's "E-Z Pass" technology to thwart speeders.

That's the good news. The bad news -- at least for lead-foots -- is that it's only a matter of time before this rumor becomes reality (although it must be pointed out that I've been saying this for 20 years).

From the Syracuse Post-Standard:

Reports that the state Thruway Authority will start using its E-Z Pass to calculate when people get on and off the toll road and issue speeding tickets are false, officials said.

The rumor started circulating through e-mail and has since spread, said Sarah Kampf, public relations officer with the agency.

Here's a passage from the rumor-fueling, now-denied e-mail that landed in my inbox:

New York State started a pilot program upstate north of Albany on the Northway to catch speeders using the Easy Pass (stet) system. Recording devices were installed at intervals along the highway. Once an Easy Pass equipped vehicle passes, the device registers the account number and the time. Same is again registered at the next "check-point." Based upon the distance between the register points and the posted speed limit, the state is sending speeding tickets in the mail to the guilty persons.

Because every driver does not have Easy Pass, the State is "perplexed" as what to do to impose the system state-wide. The solution has been found. Soon all new vehicle registration stickers will have a metal strip or chip imbedded in same. This will take the place of the Easy Pass system as stated above.

BIG BROTHER IS ALIVE AND WELL.

Pass this along to every one you know.

The technology exists. All that is missing is the will -- some might call it the gall -- of state authorities. Sure, such a system would be tremendously unpopular -- imagine the hue and cry from truckers alone -- but it would also be a golden goose for state coffers and a sure-fire means of reducing highway fatalities (road rage may rise, however, so those deaths would need to be considered).

In the meantime, a New York Thruway spokesman has a word of advice for drivers:

Any worried motorists who have heard the false reports should just stick to the speed limit and they won't have any problems, said Guy Holbert of the Thruway Authority office in Syracuse.

Can't you just see the smirk on the guy's face when he said that?

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