The most common reasons leading to the imposition of a fine on a toll road in Europe
Every country in Europe has a toll payment system (both for light and heavy goods vehicles) – whether through an electronic reporting system, mileage or vignette sticker. Different countries have their own specifics when reporting and paying the due fee. In the case of unpaid but due toll – a fine is imposed. The amount of the fine varies between countries and depends on the reason for unpaid toll.
Below we will look through the most common reasons for imposing a toll penalty, as well as countries where carriers are most often sanctioned.
Common reasons for imposing a fine:
In the first place, we will point out incorrectly entered data of the vehicle that uses an on-board unit to pay a toll.
Any on-board unit, regardless for which country, is issued for a specific vehicle registration number. If the registration number of the vehicle using that unit does not match the vehicle registration plate entered, the toll is considered unpaid and you are subject to a fine.
Another situation where you can be fined is incorrectly registered axles and emission class of the vehicle in the on-board unit. There are countries such as the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Austria, where the device is 2-axle, and the driver has to adjust the 5+ axles further if traveling through with whole composition. If the driver of the composition misses this setting, the toll is considered to be unpaid in full and you are subject to a penalty. In order to avoid a fine, Truckpoint recommends that you always check if your on-board unit is with entered correct parameters of the vehicle using it, before entering a country.
Fine may also be imposed if the on-board unit is not functioning properly, the driver has not taken any action to replace/charge the device, and therefore the toll is not accounted for and paid. On-board on-board devices give different indications for malfunctions, and here they are:
- A red light that indicates that the device does not report payment
- The word “error” is displayed on the device
- Four acoustic signals, that indicate that the device is not working
When you notice any of these indications, you should immediately visit the closest point of the road service provider for that country. Station staff will check the device, if necessary, replace it to continue on your way with a perfectly functioning device and without the risk of being fined.
Another reason why the device may not charge is the lack of sufficient funds in the device. If your device is in pre-pay mode, you need to go to the nearest operator to load the on-board unit in cash, bank card, or fuel card. We recommend that every time you enter a country where you pay with device, stop at a checkpoint, check the availability and, if necessary, recharge it to ensure that the toll is securely paid.
In countries where a vignette is used, you must make sure that it is issued with a correct registration number and is valid for the period of your trip. The countries for which you must have a vignette are – Romania (rovignette), the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden (Eurovignette) and UK (Levy). If you find that the truck’s registration number is incorrect or the vignette has expired, it is necessary to purchase a new one on-site or online (depending on the country).
With the examples listed above, we have summarized the most common prerequisites that lead to a fine for an unpaid toll. At Truckpoint, we have the experience and the knowledge to assist you in investigating the reasons for the fine, as well as the appeal to the relevant institution.
After examining the reasons, we will also address the countries where the transport companies are most often fined and the amount of the fines themselves.
Road fines in Germany
One of the countries that has a strict system of control and monitoring is Germany. In the event that a violation is found, you will be notified by the Federal BAG for this. The fine for unpaid toll charges in Germany can reach up to € 20,000.
Road fines in Austria
Another country, where carriers are often fined, is Austria. The operator shall provide the opportunity to pay extra tolls due if the correct emission class or axle has not been introduced or has not been operated on the on-board unit. Supplementation must be made at the Asfinag station within 5 hours or 100 km (in both directions) from the time of using the Austrian road network with the incorrectly set / inoperative machine. If no toll is due, you may be fined € 120 to € 3,000.
Road fines in Belgium
Since the introduction of an electronic toll system in Belgium in 2016, the fines started to rain. By the end of 2017, in a case of an unpaid toll, the Belgian authorities imposed a fine of € 1 000 for each unattended toll. From 2018, the amount of the fine is already determined by the reason for the toll payment. Our practice in the investigation and appeal of fines imposed by Belgium authorities shows that the most frequently cited reasons are the exclusion of an on-board unit and an inactive supplier contract. We would like to encourage any carrier who has been fined in Belgium to take the necessary remedies. If you are wondering how – we know.
Road fines in Hungary
You have certainly heard and probably even had a situation in which you have been fined in Hungary for an unaccountable passage. This is another country where the authorities strictly impose fines for unpaid toll. The reasons are sometimes unclear, as you understand the fine imposed only when the authorities suspend the VAT refund from Hungary due to an unpaid toll tax. To avoid this, we advise you to regularly monitor your online HU-GO account and reflected transactions. We at Truckpoint can help you reduce your risk and improve your accountability, and if you have a fine, we can assist you in challenging it.