EZpass and trucks

I don’t understand how EZpass/Fastlane works with trucks with a variable number of axles.

The transponder has to tell the toll system how many axles the vehicle has, as that determines the toll. But a tractor could be hauling a trailer with 1 or 2 or 3 axles, or no trailer at all.

And to make it more complicated, now you have tractors and trailers with axles that can be lifted off the road.

Anyone can enlighten me on how this all works.


I’m sure a visit to the EZpass website can. I’d guess that they pay on an entirely different rate scale that’s designed to compensate for these things.

I worked for a company that handled the EZpass for me, so I don’t know specifically, but I would imagine the amount of time a driver spends bobtailing (driving with no trailer) is minimal. A truck driver is much more likely to deadhead (drive with an empty trailer) than bobtail. In addition, drivers that use specialty trailers (those with more than a double or tandem axle), aren’t likely to go back and forth between different trailer types, but when they do change types of trailers, there is a probably a way to call the folks at EZpass or go online and modify the EZpass settings.

Here’s how they do it in Delaware


That does not answer my question about transponders and number of axles. How does the transponder or the system know how many axles a given truck has, as that number can change from day to day, with different trailers, and with one or more of the liftable axle up or down. The same tractor could have 2 axles one day and 6 the next. The fare system has to account for that.

The truckers have to tell the EZ Pass system what their maximum number of axles is when they subscribe and get the transponder. My guess is that the make and model of the truck may even be a determinant. Any trucker caught misrepresenting will be charged with defrauding the state in criminal court. If found guilty, he/she will probably do time and forfeit his/her license.

In truth it probably isn’t that big an issue. Operating a truck without a load is expensive. You’ll rarely see a truck “deadheading”.

They find legal ways to avoid the tolls. Rt 3A in NH is always lined with trucks going around the Hooksett toll. They get off the toll road at exit 10, drive past the tolls to Concord, and get back on there.

So if the trucker gets a transponder for 6 axles, and he is hauling a load with a total of 4 axles, he loses money, or perhaps turns off the transponder and pays cash?

What kind of trucker are you talking about, a company driver or an owner/operator?

A company driver won’t care. It isn’t his dime being wasted.

An owner/operator will have to own or lease his trailers, won’t have more than one or two types of trailer, and might not even have an EZpass.

Why are you asking this question? Are you a truck driver?

My recommendation would be to take the batteries out of the transponder and pay manually when you are using a trailer that doesn’t conform to what the EZpass is set for.

just curious.

I see many trucks using EZpass thru toll gates, and I’m curious how they get charged for the correct number of axles.

I see some pickups with small trailers also using EZpass. How do they handle the trailer? I suspect they just drive through.

I don’t think professional truck drivers swap trailer types often enough to worry about it. Once they are on the road, they either drop and hook (swapping trailers of the same type), or they wait for the one they have to be loaded/unloaded.

If you want to see what can happen to the pick-up drivers, you might like this video.

They don’t CARE about how many axles…It’s the time saved that’s important to them. They write the tolls off their taxes and don’t give it a second thought. It is passed on to the consumer anyway…After a year, none of those cameras work and nobody knows how to fix them (or cares)…The money just rolls in regardless…

Most long haul trucks don’t really change number of axles that often. They are almost always pulling the same trailer or the same kind of trailer. The trucks with extra axles that can be raised/lowered as the load requires are usually short haul stone carriers or other heavy load haulers, many of those won’t encounter tolls. The ones that do probably get the EZ pass set up with the “typical” number of axles down, or maybe they are required to set it up for maximum number of axles and either just pay the extra (it’s still at a discount) or they can stick the pass into a little RF isolation pouch and pay manually when the need arises.

I swear I must have one of those embedded in my forehead when we walk into one of our usual restaurants,

The waitress scurries up to us and says “I hope youall want your usual, cuz David’s already cooking it.”

So if the trucker gets a transponder for 6 axles, and he is hauling a load with a total of 4 axles, he loses money, or perhaps turns off the transponder and pays cash?

I believe it is cheaper to use the transponder so turing it off might cost more than just paying for the max.

It takes a lot of fuel to get 80,000 pounds rolling again from a dead stop. By rolling through with the transponder they probably save enough in fuel to pay for the difference in the cost for the two axles.

very good point