CECIL & HARFORD COUNTIES, Md. — The toll booths no longer collect tolls on the Hatem Bridge, but until recently, they still clocked speeders, and thousands of motorists received warnings in the mail.
"They started coming about two weeks ago,” said Ian Smith of Havre de Grace. “I had no idea that I was going too fast, and they just kept coming."
While the warnings don't include a fine, they cautioned that a second violation within a six-month period could cost you your E-ZPass, even though cashless tolls were supposed to keep motorists from having to slow down and clog traffic.
"I started to worry that the E-ZPass was going to be canceled and how much money I might owe so it's been an interesting two weeks," added Smith.
"How many did you receive?"
"At least five, and probably more on the way. I think it's up to seven now, but..."
Since mid-October, a new myriad of cameras dangling above traffic automatically charges tolls to motorists' E-ZPass, but the unexpected speed trap caught virtually everyone off guard, including Anne Baker's sister from Arizona.
"My sister was visiting here for a month and she was crossing the Hatem Bridge and she did get one of those passes, but she told me when she got home she got six letters of warning speeds," said Baker.
The Maryland Transportation Authority says motorists should ignore the warnings and blame them on a glitch as workers failed to turn off speed detection equipment at the toll booths while converting to the new system.
"I guess when they start implementing something, there can always be little quirks," added Baker.
Quirks made all of the more confusing by new-looking signs, which suggest the speed limit is 30 miles per hour on the bridge, when the warnings suggested it was 45.