By Madison Ruppert
The Intel Hub
In one of the more insane rulings recently – the appeals court decision to block the judge’s ruling on the unconstitutionality of the Obama administration’s indefinite detention notwithstanding – a federal appeals court ruled that motorists can, essentially, be held indefinitely at toll booths if they pay the toll with a large denomination bill.
The ruling (PDF courtesy of The Newspaper) came down in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, on September 19, 2012 in the case of Chandler v. FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation).
The chandler family, consisting of Joel Deborah and Robert Chandler, filed the lawsuit last year in which they argue that they were “effectively being held hostage by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the private contractor in charge of the state’s toll road, Faneuil, Inc.”
The FDOT policies at the time dictated that any driver who paid with a $50 bill, or, as The Newspaper reports, “occasionally even $5 bills,” was not to be given permission to proceed until the toll collector completed a so-called “Bill Detection Report.”
These reports include data about the driver’s vehicle and details obtained from their driver’s license as well.
Obviously these reports completely nullify the privacy protection offered by opting to pay with cash instead of installing a “SunPass” transponder on their vehicle which records their travels for later retrieval.
Indeed, detailed papers have been written in an effort to preserve driver privacy when using these toll collection technologies in order “to resolve the tension between the desire for sophisticated road pricing schemes and drivers’ interest in maintaining the privacy of their driving patterns.”
“Many of those who chose to pay cash did so to avoid the privacy implications of installing a SunPass transponder that recorded their driving habits,” reports The Newspaper.
It is hardly surprising to learn that these same drivers who opted to use cash for privacy reasons were unwilling to provide their personal information to the toll collector.
The drivers were then essentially forced to give the toll collector their private information because the barrier in the toll booth would not be raised until the driver complied with the Bill Detection Report.
The drivers would then be in quite a pickle since FDOT policy does not allow anyone to exit the vehicle. Similarly, backing up is illegal and usually a physical impossibility due to the presence of other vehicles.
Thankfully, the FDOT reportedly dropped the Bill Detection Reports in 2010 but nothing is stopping them from reinstating it, especially after this supportive court decision.
The Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ three-judge panel determined that these clear detentions of motorists was not significant enough to be considered a constitutional violation, which is hardly surprising given that the U.S. Attorney General himself considers secret reviews of classified evidence due process.
- Appeals court rules drivers can be detained indefinitely for paying tolls with large denomination bills (EndtheLie.com)
- If You Pay with a Large Denomination Bill, You Can Be Held at a Toll Booth (economicpolicyjournal.com)
- Florida: Court Approves Detaining Motorists at Toll Booth (thenewspaper.com)
- Florida: Court Approves Detaining Motorists at Toll Booth (fromthetrenchesworldreport.com)
- Obama wins right to indefinitely detain Americans under NDAA | THE JEENYUS CORNER (jeenyuscorner.com)
- Toll booths escape lawsuit for unlawful detention (business.financialpost.com)
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