Ipass advisory

Just a little info: I got pulled over in Chicago for having 29 citations for failure to pay tolls in the Chicago area, I have an Ipass correctly installed and after some investigation by the traffic officer my pass was fully funtional and always had funds. The dates the citations were issued for were days I had kayaks on the roof. Not sure if rotomolded or composite boats were the issue.

What’s the nature of the sensing?
If it were optical sensing of a bar code, then the nature of the boats wouldn’t matter. But there are other ways to do it.

SF also does license plagte checks
SF Bay Area also does license plate checks, if our FastTrack (that is what we call it here) doesn’t register. If they see the license plate is registered to a FastTrack account, they charge the toll to that FastTrack account. If not, they send a letter saying either pay the toll plus fine, or sign up for FastTrack and just pay the toll.

Move the unit
Perhaps it could read the transponder better if you moved the pass from the top of the windshield and just laid it on the dash while you’re carrying boats.

Some of the PA EZ Pass lanes have lights that turn green when it’s read your transponder correctly, one way to tell if its working right.

Same problem here
I’ve got an EZPass which is a windshield mounted transponder that works throughout the east. I have to be careful when I carry canoes as they block the signal. Most of our tolls around here are the old fashioned kind with a single toll lane and a light that lets you know you’ve paid. Sometimes I have had to stop and move the thing around to get a green light.

I recently bought a holder for the device with suction cups so I can place it for where it can look between the canoes. I’ll deliberatly place it where it can “see” the most sky. I also think that the antenna on the device is directional and it wants to sit at the approximate angle of the windshield. If I lay on the dash, I get a high failure rate.

In a few places we have the high speed lanes with the overhead antenna system. That’s where I have the most problems. If you keep an eye in your rear view mirror, you’ll see a flash as your picture is taken if the system does not read your transponder. Then, unless the canoe blocked your license plate, you’ll get a citation in the mail in a couple of weeks. As long as you have a valid pass you only have to tell 'em so and they will charge your account - no fine.

I don’t have a good answer. Logic tells me that the device would have to be mounted outside and above the boats to avoid the interference and that would probably be a really bad idea in wet weather.

I found the suction cup holder at an interstate rest area - it has helped.

Calls to the issueing authority were no help. The people who answered the phone Were clueless.


Perhaps due to kayaks altering your vehicle dimensions you were being charged as a different class vehicle? - I recall folks carrying their bikes on top of cars bitching about it.

I usually remove my transponder when pulling a kayak trailer.

Perhaps this article will help to troubleshoot transponder’s placement?


no problem for me

– Last Updated: Jan-16-14 9:18 PM EST –

I use an I-Pass with 2 sea kayaks on the I94 tollway in IL all the time and have had no issues.

Even when the I-Pass is not mounted to the windshield, the system scans my license plate, which gets cross-referenced by their computer system so I get billed anyway.

I dont have a front plate
In Kansas they do not require plates on the front of our vehicles, could that be part of the problem?

Only if…
Kansas had licenses cross-checked against the electronic tags and both items are indexed in their own database. But if Kansas does not require a front plate they may not have bothered to put the license plate into the index, it might be something else like driver id.

But it probably doesn’t matter what Kansas has on you. If you are traveling in a state that uses cameras assuming a front license plate, that state’s system is not going to react well to anything other than a clear electronic signal.

I have 7 different tollway passes
This is my work truck that I use all over the USA, Canada and Mexico. I am pretty sure the NSA can track me due to all of the transponders I have in the truck. I just slap up the transponder for the current area I am in.

Illinois is the only state I have had this problem, I am pretty sure it only happens in the lanes out on the highway as the green light system works on exit tollbooths.


– Last Updated: Jan-17-14 9:16 PM EST –

Suiram, why do you pull your transponder when using the kayak trailer? EZ Pass will read and adjust your toll based on the number of axles it reads. I use mine on my truck with and without my trailer.

Never had an issue
I have EZpass and have driven with either one or two boats throughout a good part of the Northeast with no problems. All of my boats are long.

Useful link
The instructions contained in the link were useful because they showed a new device that mounts to the front bumper. A bumper mounted transponder would almost certainly solve the problem that seems to arise from boats on the roof that block the signnal from a windshield mounted one. My transponder is issued by New York State and I’m not sure if they offer the bumper mount variety, but I’m gonna look into it.



I didn’t bother reading the faqs, so assumed that the system was not intelligent enough to adjust for changing vehicle class.

It didn’t used to be
A few years ago when MA started accepting EZ pass if you had a trailer you had to register it with EZ pass first.