TRENTON – The Senate Transportation Committee approved legislation today sponsored by Senator Nicholas J. Sacco that would discourage the theft of E-ZPass responders by making that theft a crime of the fourth degree.
“E-ZPass has proven to be a great time-saver for many New Jersey drivers, but the small size of the responders make them a popular target for thieves,” said Senator Sacco, D-Bergen and Hudson and Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. “Those drivers who use E-ZPass for their tolls shouldn’t be at more risk for theft than people who pay cash. This bill seeks to discourage criminals from targeting these devices and the drivers who use them.”
The bill, S-379, would amend current law to add theft of a vehicle identification system transponder to the list of what constitutes a crime of the fourth degree that is punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 18 months, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. The bill also states that if a customer reports in a timely manner the loss or theft of a transponder to the operator of the E-ZPass system, the customer would not be liable for unauthorized charges of $50 or more incurred prior to the reporting of the loss or theft, or unauthorized charges incurred after the reporting of the loss or theft and would not be charged any fees for the stolen transponder or its replacement.
“Drivers who use the E-ZPass system deserve certain reasonable protections, both criminal and civil, against the theft of their E-ZPass responders. Today we are giving them a safeguard against outrageous fees in case a criminal uses their responder for their own purposes,” said Senator Sacco.
The bill passed the Committee by a vote of 4-0. It is expected to move quickly through the Senate as it was unanimously approved by the full Senate in 2004, but was not considered by the Assembly before the end of the session.