MARYLAND (DC News Now) — Midnight on November 30 was supposed to be the deadline to pay any unpaid tolls before drivers are hit with fees. Now, drivers have two more weeks — the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) board just extended that deadline.

In a special board meeting Wednesday afternoon, MDTA decided to extend the deadline to December 14th at 11:59 p.m. A press release by MDTA explains the board approved the extension of the Customer Assistance Plan after high participation and last-minute rush over the last week at MDTA customer service centers and the call center.

“While the customer assistance plan has been in place for nine months, unfortunately, many customers have waited until the very end to take advantage of the opportunity to pay their outstanding video tolls without penalty.”

Statement from MDTA following the special board meeting

Back in February, MDTA temporarily stopped collecting unpaid video tolls. As of November 29th, $151 million in civil penalties had been waived for approximately 773,000 drivers and businesses that paid their outstanding video tolls. MDTA executive Will Pines explained the penalty for unpaid tolls is $25 per infraction.

Tolls across the state have been electronic since 2020. Drivers have three ways to pay at a toll station: using an E-ZPass, pay-by-plate, or video tolling. Montgomery County driver Peter Burgan made the switch to the E-ZPass system and is confused why more drivers don’t use the system despite its convenience and ease.

“Seems to me people have had time to rectify their accounts in one way or another,” Burgan said. “Four or five years ago, I got my E-ZPass and it’s been seamless ever since I don’t really have to think about it. When it comes time, in the end, you have to pay for the usage of the road.”

E-ZPass transponders are free and state officials say drivers who use them pay nearly half of what video toll drivers pay on the roads. Despite the lure of a free transponder and the use of toll roads across the state and the country, one driver is still choosing to avoid toll roads altogether.

“I’m just because I rather take the cheaper route and just avoid it you know?” Vinh L., a Montgomery County driver explained. “I’m just trying to save money in these times.”

Jonelle Detlor says she isn’t surprised by the number of unpaid tolls as the electronic billing system isn’t perfect. She explained that she and her family have continuously run into issues with the E-ZPass and electronic toll system. She recalls a long road trip where she thought she loaded money onto her E-ZPass but was still hit with fees.

“Because once you miss one, and if we’re driving from Maryland to Michigan, we drive through Pennsylvania, and then we drive through Ohio,” Detlor explained. “So that’s my E-ZPass not working correctly and we’re away from home, they send me a ticket for each one of those.”

Unpaid tolls can be paid online or else drivers will need to pay both the toll fee and as many civil penalties that were racked up during the waiver period. Drivers can also contest all of the fees in district court.