NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police are cracking down on drivers who break the law in New York City, but it isn’t NYPD officers who are watching the highways, it’s the state police writing tickets.
As CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported, it’s now a common occurrence to see state troopers pulling over drivers in the city, taking many by surprise.
“Never seen it before in my life,” said Dragos Sisu, of Riverdale.
“They’re the cops lying in wait at the bridge,” said Paul Unger, also of Riverdale.
It’s all part of the new cashless open road tolling system at the Henry Hudson Bridge and other crossings.
An extra 150 state troopers are now posted at MTA bridges and tunnels where toll booths are being eliminated.
With the addition of troopers comes more tickets.
In fact, state police confirm over the last several years they issued an average of just 50 tickets per year in the city. In the first month and a half of this year, they’ve already handed out 3,000.
“It’s a stick up. It’s a set up for the revenue. It’s additional income,” an Inwood man said.
Overhead toll gantries charge a driver’s EZ Pass, or a photo is taken of the license plate and a bill is sent by mail to the registered owner. But high-tech license plate readers also instantly check a driver’s record for suspensions, unpaid tolls, even parking tickets.
Troopers stationed at the bridges get instant notifications and pull people over.
“It makes me nervous. It’s part of the ever-creeping capabilities of technology to slowly invade your privacy. It’s scary!” Unger said.
A state police spokesperson told CBS2 in part, “troopers frequently travel these highways to and from their assignments and will continue to conduct traffic stops on any road when they witness a violation.”
Troopers have the authority to pull drivers over anywhere in New York state, including the five boroughs.