BREAKING NEWS: Court says ETR407 cannot charge tolls based on trailer plate photos

TORONTO, Ont. — An Ontario court has ruled that 407ETR operators cannot charge tolls based on photographs of trailer plates.

The Superior Court ruled the toll highway may have to reimburse up to millions of dollars in fees that were charged to trailer owners, according to a report in this morning’s Globe and Mail.

“This could be a very, very, very significant amount of money at stake,” William Chalmers, a Toronto lawyer told the Globe. “If this decision is upheld, then arguably every time they’ve levied (this kind of ) charge and collected a charge … all those charges were collected illegally and they all should be returned plus interest.”

407ETR plans to appeal the decision.

The case was brought to light by trailer rental company Blue Star Trailer Rentals. The company said it was being billed when its customers hauled its trailers on the toll road, since the 407ETR cameras capture the trailer licence plates as they enter and exit the roadway.

Blue Star’s case was that the 407ETR did not have the right to bill the trailer owners for road usage that was incurred by the two vehicles’ drivers.

“It may be that to rectify the problem the (407) will have to modify its equipment to photograph front plates or require owners of tractors that tow trailers owned by different persons to somehow visibly display the tractor’s rear plate or the contents of the plate for video imaging,” the judge said.

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