PAWNEE COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority says this incident emphasizes the importance of motorist safety and cashless PlatePay at toll booths.
A semi-trailer truck crashed into the eastbound Cimarron Turnpike Hallett toll plaza in Pawnee County on Monday morning, injuring the tool booth attendant inside.
Officials say she was treated by emergency medical personnel at the scene.
“Unfortunately, we see the highest number of crashes on Oklahoma turnpikes at toll plazas where we have motorists slowing down at varying speeds and changing lanes at the last second,” OTA Deputy Director Joe Echelle said.
Turnpike maintenance workers quickly worked to replace the damaged toll booth, including electrical wiring, and had it operational by Monday night.
The OTA began a 5-year plan to transition to a cashless system in 2021.
“It’s a much safer operation then what we currently have,” OTA spokesperson Jack Damrill said.
Officials say PlatePay photographs a non-PIKEPASS vehicle’s license plate, enabling the OTA to send the vehicle’s registered owner an invoice.
“PlatePay will eliminate toll plazas, allowing motorists to remain at turnpike speeds without sudden slowing, stopping or merging,” Echelle said.
The John Kilpatrick and Kickapoo Turnpikes have already converted to PlatePay.
“We used to have weekly crashes at the old Kilpatrick toll plazas and haven’t had one at those plazas since converting that turnpike to cashless,” Echelle said. “Safety is our top priority, and PlatePay will significantly reduce the number of crashes on state turnpikes.”
The nine remaining turnpikes will be converted over the next two years.
The Cimarron Turnpike, where Monday’s toll plaza crash occurred, is the next turnpike scheduled to convert to PlatePay later this summer.
OTA officials say the invoice fees will be higher than the coins at the toll booth.
They recommend getting a PIKEPASS account, saying it can save drivers 20% or more.
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