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SB-664 Electronic toll and transit fare collection systems.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 09/10/2019 09:00 PM
SB664:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  September 10, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  August 13, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  June 10, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 664


Introduced by Senator Allen
(Coauthor: Senator Beall)
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Daly and Mullin)

February 22, 2019


An act to amend Sections 27565 and 31490 of the Streets and Highways Code, and to amend Sections 23302.5 and 40267 of, and to amend, repeal, and add Section 40254 of of, the Vehicle Code, relating to transportation.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 664, as amended, Allen. Electronic toll and transit fare collection systems.
(1) Existing law requires the Department of Transportation, in cooperation with the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District and all known entities planning to implement a toll facility, to develop and adopt functional specifications and standards for an automatic vehicle identification system, in compliance with specified objectives, including that a vehicle owner shall not be required to purchase or install more than one device to use on all toll facilities, and generally requires any automatic vehicle identification system purchased or installed after January 1, 1991, to comply with those specifications and standards. Existing law authorizes operators of toll facilities on federal-aid highways engaged in an interoperability program to provide only specified information regarding a vehicle’s use of the toll facility.
This bill would expand the above-described objective so that a user of a toll facility shall also not be required to purchase or install more than one device to use on all toll facilities. The bill would limit the above-described authorization to those operators engaged in an interstate interoperability program. The bill would assert that these provisions are declarative of existing law.
(2) Existing law prohibits a transportation agency from selling or providing to any other person or entity personally identifiable information, as defined, of a person who subscribes to an electronic toll or electronic transit fare collection system or who uses a toll facility that employs an electronic toll collection system, except as specified. Existing law, with certain exceptions, requires a transportation agency to discard personally identifiable information within 41/2 years, as specified.
Under existing law, the requirement that the transportation agency discard personally identifiable information, as described above, does not prohibit a transportation agency or its designee from performing financial and accounting functions such as billing, account settlement, enforcement, or other financial activities required to operate and manage the electronic toll collection system or electronic transit fare collection system.
This bill would instead provide that a transportation agency is not prohibited from using or providing personally identifiable information to any other person or entity for purposes of operating and managing an electronic toll collection or electronic transit fare collection system, auditing, or performing billing, collection, account maintenance, account settlement, and enforcement activities. activities, but would require the transportation agency to limit the personally identifiable information it provides to information relevant to assist in carrying out the intended function.
This bill would prohibit, on or after January 1, 2020, prohibit a transportation agency from using or providing personally identifiable information for purposes of issuing public safety and travel alerts, or customer surveys, unless the transportation agency has received express written consent to do so.
Existing law defines “transportation agency” for these purposes as the Department of Transportation, the Bay Area Toll Authority, any entity operating a toll bridge, toll lane, or toll highway within the state, any entity administering an electronic transit fare collection system and any transit operator participating in that system, or any entity under contract with those entities.
This bill would expand the definition of “transportation agency” to also include any entity under contract at any level, including subcontractors, with those entities for purposes of billing, collection, account maintenance, account settlement, enforcement, communications, or other activities related to the operation auditing, operating, or management of an electronic toll collection system or electronic fare collection system.
This bill would make a contractor or subcontractor that accesses, collects, uses, or retains personally identifiable information for a purpose other than billing, collection, account maintenance, account settlement, communications, auditing, operating, management, or enforcement activities, liable, as specified.
This bill would assert that certain of the above-described bill provisions are declarative of existing law.
(3) Existing law prohibits a person from evading or attempting to evade the payment of tolls or other charges on any vehicular crossing or toll highway and subjects a violator to civil penalties governed by a civil administrative procedure that includes an administrative investigation and review procedure, and an administrative and judicial appeal process.
This bill would provide that a notice of toll evasion issued, as specified, would subject the registered owner is a civil violation subject to civil penalties. The bill would assert that this provision is declarative of existing law.

This bill would require that changes made to these provisions by this bill apply retroactively to January 1, 2011.

(4) Existing law requires that a notice of a toll evasion violation set forth specified information, including, among other things, if applicable, if a vehicle is found, by automated devices, to have evaded the toll through failure to meet occupancy requirements in a high-occupancy toll lane, a copy of photographic evidence on which the determination was based.
Existing law requires the processing agency to prepare and forward a notice of toll evasion violation to the registered owner of the vehicle cited for the violation, as specified. Existing law requires the processing agency to use its best efforts to obtain accurate information concerning the identity and address of the registered owner for the purpose of forwarding a notice of toll evasion violation.
This bill would delete the requirement that the toll evasion, if applicable, failed to meet occupancy requirements in a high-occupancy toll lane. The bill would also provide that, would, on and after January 1, 2021, forwarding the notice to an address provided by certain governmental entities, or taking an additional step to identify a potential alternative address for purposes of sending the notice and forwarding of the notice to that address, constitutes evidence of adequate delivery of notice. revise and recast the requirements on issuing and processing agencies to prepare and forward notices of toll evasion violations and the penalties for toll violations. The bill would would, on and after January 1, 2021, prohibit the pursuit of a penalty for any toll evasion violation unless the notice of the violation has been forwarded as described. provision requirements have been complied with.
This bill would authorize the processing agency to use any reliable source to obtain the registered owner’s information and would provide that using an address provided as described above constitutes prima facie evidence of its best efforts.
(5) Existing law authorizes a processing agency to contract with a collection agency to collect unpaid toll evasion penalties, fees, and charges.
This bill would prohibit the issuing agency and collection agency from contracting with a towing company to tow a vehicle for unpaid toll evasion penalties, fees, or charges.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 27565 of the Streets and Highways Code is amended to read:

27565.
 (a) The department, in cooperation with the district and all known entities planning to implement a toll facility in this state, shall develop and adopt functional specifications and standards for an automatic vehicle identification system, in compliance with all of the following objectives:
(1) In order to be detected, the driver shall not be required to reduce speed below the applicable speed for the type of facility being used.
(2) A vehicle owner or user of a toll facility shall not be required to purchase or install more than one device to use on all toll facilities, but may be required to have a separate account or financial arrangement for the use of these facilities.
(3) The facility operators shall have the ability to select from different manufacturers and vendors. The specifications and standards shall encourage multiple bidders, and shall not have the effect of limiting the facility operators to choosing a system that is able to be supplied by only one manufacturer or vendor.
(b) Except as provided in subdivision (c), an automatic vehicle identification system purchased or installed after January 1, 1991, shall comply with the specifications and standards adopted pursuant to subdivision (a).
(c) Subdivision (b) does not apply to an interim automatic vehicle identification system for which a contract is entered into between an entity planning to implement a toll facility and the supplier of the interim system before January 1, 1994, if both of the following requirements are met:
(1) The department has made a written determination that the installation and operation of the interim system will expedite the completion of the toll facility and its opening to public use.
(2) The entity planning to implement the toll facility has entered into an agreement with the department to install, within five years after any portion of the toll facility is opened for public use, an automatic vehicle identification system meeting the specifications and standards adopted pursuant to subdivision (a).
(d) The automated vehicle identification system developed by the department pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be capable of identifying various types of vehicles, including, but not limited to, commercial vehicles.
(e) On and after the date specified in the federal Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act for implementation of interstate interoperability of electronic toll collection on federal-aid highways, operators of toll facilities on federal-aid highways may fully implement technologies or business practices that provide for the interstate interoperability of electronic toll collection programs consistent with federal law. Operators of toll facilities on federal-aid highways engaged in an interstate interoperability program may provide only the following information regarding a vehicle’s use of the toll facility, and shall otherwise comply with all federal and state privacy protection laws, including, but not limited to, Section 31490:
(1) License plate number.
(2) Transponder identification number.
(3) Date and time of transaction.
(4) Identity of the agency operating the toll facility.

SEC. 2.

 Section 31490 of the Streets and Highways Code is amended to read:

31490.
 (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a transportation agency may not sell or otherwise provide to any other individual or entity personally identifiable information of any person who subscribes to an electronic toll or electronic transit fare collection system or who uses a toll bridge, toll lane, or toll highway that employs an electronic toll collection system.
(b) A transportation agency that employs an electronic toll collection or an electronic transit fare collection system shall establish a privacy policy regarding the collection and use of personally identifiable information and provide to subscribers of that system a hard copy of the privacy policy or internet link to the privacy policy in a manner that is conspicuous and meaningful, such as by providing a link to the policy on the home page of the agency’s internet website for the electronic toll collection or an electronic transit fare collection system to the subscriber with the transponder, electronic transit pass, or other device used as an electronic toll or electronic transit fare collection mechanism, mechanism in an email acknowledging that the subscription process was successfully completed, or, if the system does not use such mechanisms, with the application materials. A transportation agency shall conspicuously post its privacy policy on its internet website. For purposes of this subdivision, “conspicuously post” has the same meaning as that term is defined in paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive, of subdivision (b) of Section 22577 of the Business and Professions Code. The privacy policy shall include, but need not be limited to, a description of the following:
(1) The types of personally identifiable information that is collected by the agency.
(2) The categories of individuals or entities with whom the agency may share personally identifiable information.
(3) The process by which the transportation agency notifies subscribers of material changes to its privacy policy.
(4) The effective date of the privacy policy.
(5) The process by which a subscriber may review and request changes to any of the subscriber’s personally identifiable information.
(c) A transportation agency may, within practical business and cost constraints, store only personally identifiable information of a person such as, to the extent applicable, the account name, credit card number, billing address, vehicle information, and other basic account account, pay-by-plate, or violation information required to perform functions such as billing, account settlement, or enforcement activities. All other information information, pay-by-plate information, and violation information shall be discarded no more than four years and six months after the billing cycle has concluded, the bill has been paid, and all toll or fare violations, if applicable, have been resolved.
(d) A transportation agency shall make every effort, within practical business and cost constraints, to purge the personal account information of an account that is closed or terminated. In no case shall a transportation agency maintain personal information more than four years and six months after the date an account is closed or terminated.
(e) (1) A transportation agency may make personally identifiable information of a person available to a law enforcement agency only pursuant to a search warrant. Absent a provision in the search warrant to the contrary, the law enforcement agency shall immediately, but in any event within no more than five days, notify the person that their records have been obtained and shall provide the person with a copy of the search warrant and the identity of the law enforcement agency or peace officer to whom the records were provided.
(2) This section does not prohibit a transportation agency from making personally identifiable information of a person available to a peace officer, as defined in Section 830.1 or 830.2 of the Penal Code, when that peace officer is conducting a criminal or traffic collision investigation, if the officer has good cause to believe that a delay in obtaining this information by seeking a search warrant would cause an adverse result, as defined in subparagraphs (A) to (E), inclusive, of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 1524.2 of the Penal Code.
(f) This section does not prohibit a transportation agency from providing aggregated traveler information derived from collective data that relates to a group or category of persons from which personally identifiable information has been removed.
(g) This section does not prohibit a transportation agency, with respect to an electronic toll collection system, from providing the license plate number of an intermodal chassis to the owner of the chassis for purposes of locating the driver of the chassis in the event the driver fails to pay a toll.
(h) This section, with respect to an electronic toll collection system, does not prohibit a transportation agency from sharing data with another transportation agency solely to comply with interoperability specifications and standards adopted pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 27565 regarding electronic toll collection devices and technologies. A third-party vendor may not use personally identifiable information obtained under this subdivision for a purpose other than described in this subdivision.
(i) This section shall not prohibit a transportation agency from using or providing personally identifiable information for purposes of operating and managing an electronic toll collection or electronic transit fare collection system, auditing, or performing billing, collection, account maintenance, account settlement, and enforcement activities. On or after January 1, 2020, a A transportation agency shall not use or provide personally identifiable information for purposes of issuing public safety and travel alerts, or customer surveys, unless the transportation agency has received express written consent to do so. A transportation agency shall limit the personally identifiable information it provides for purposes of operating or managing the electronic toll collection system or electronic transit fare collection system to information relevant to assist in carrying out the intended function.
(j) In addition to uses of personally identifiable information authorized in subdivision (i), a transportation agency may communicate to subscribers of an electronic toll collection system or an electronic transit fare collection system about products and services offered by, by the agency, a business partner, or the entity with which it contracts for the system, using personally identifiable information limited to the subscriber’s name, address, and electronic mail address, provided that, for personally identifiable information acquired on or after January 1, 2011, the transportation agency has received the subscriber’s express written consent to receive the communications communications. A transportation agency shall not use personally identifiable information obtained through the electronic toll collection system to market a private business entity’s nontoll-related product or service. On and after July 1, 2020, express written consent shall be obtained in a manner that is separate from the transportation agency’s privacy policy or terms and conditions. conditions before any personally identifiable information is used for purposes of this subdivision. The consent required by this subdivision may be revoked at any time through procedures established by the transportation agency.
(k) A transportation agency may shall not use a nonsubscriber’s personally identifiable information obtained using an electronic toll collection or electronic transit fare collection system to market products or services to that nonsubscriber. This subdivision shall not apply to toll-related products or services contained in a notice of toll evasion. related to a toll evasion or an invoice where pay-by-plate toll payment is authorized. The marketing authorized under this subdivision shall be limited to information about the toll bridge, toll lane, or toll highway, subscribing to an electronic toll collection system, and alternative means of toll payment.
(l) For purposes of this section, “transportation agency” means the Department of Transportation, the Bay Area Toll Authority, any entity operating a toll bridge, toll lane, or toll highway within the state, any entity administering an electronic transit fare collection system and any transit operator participating in that system, or any entity under contract at any level, including subcontractors, with any of the above entities for purposes of billing, collection, account maintenance, account settlement, enforcement, communications, or other activities related to the operation auditing, operating, or management of an electronic toll collection system or electronic transit fare collection system. A transportation agency and any entity under contract for a purpose enumerated above shall be deemed a single “transportation agency” for purposes of this section. A contractor or subcontractor shall not access, collect, use, or retain personally identifiable information obtained under this section for a purpose other than collection, account maintenance, account settlement, communications, or enforcement activities, those enumerated above, and is subject to the data retention limits described in subdivision (c). subdivisions (c) and (d). If a contractor or subcontractor accesses, collects, uses, or retains personally identifiable information for a purpose other than those enumerated above, the contractor or subcontractor shall be liable under for the penalties described in subdivision (q).
(m) For purposes of this section, “electronic toll collection system” is a system where a transponder, camera-based vehicle identification system, or other electronic medium is used to deduct payment of a toll from a subscriber’s account or to establish an obligation to pay a toll, including the proper toll amount, and “electronic transit fare collection system” means a system for issuing an electronic transit pass that enables a transit passenger subscriber to use the transit systems of one or more participating transit operators without having to pay individual fares, where fares are instead deducted from the subscriber’s account as loaded onto the electronic transit pass.
(n) For purposes of this section, “person” means any person who subscribes to an electronic toll collection or electronic transit fare collection system or any person who uses a toll bridge, toll lane, or toll road that employs an electronic toll collection system.
(o) For purposes of this section, “personally identifiable information” means any information that identifies or describes a person including, but not limited to, travel pattern data, address, telephone number, email address, license plate number, photograph, bank account information, or credit card number. For purposes of this section, with respect to electronic transit fare collection systems, “personally identifiable information” does not include photographic or video footage.
(p) For purposes of this section, “interoperability” means the sharing of data, including personally identifiable information, across multiple transportation agencies for the sole purpose of creating and operating an integrated transit fare payment system, integrated toll payment system, or both.
(q) (1) In addition to any other remedies provided by law, a person whose personally identifiable information has been knowingly sold or otherwise provided in violation of this section may bring an action to recover either actual damages or two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) for each individual violation, whichever is greater, and may also recover reasonable costs and attorney’s fees.
(2) A person whose personally identifiable information has been knowingly sold or otherwise provided three or more times in violation of this section may bring an action to recover either actual damages or four thousand dollars ($4,000) for each individual violation, whichever is greater, and may also recover reasonable costs and attorney’s fees.
(r) Nothing in this section shall preclude compliance with a court order or settlement agreement that has been approved on or before April 25, 2010.
(s) A transportation agency that employs an electronic toll collection or electronic transit fare collection system may impose an administrative fee on persons who use those systems in an amount sufficient to cover the cost of implementing this section.

(t)Amendments made to subdivision (b) and the second sentence of subdivision (i) by Senate Bill 664 of the 2019–20 Regular Session are prospective only. All other amendments made to this section by Senate Bill 664 of the 2019–20 Regular Session are declarative of existing law.

SEC. 3.

 Section 23302.5 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

23302.5.
 (a) A person shall not evade or attempt to evade the payment of tolls or other charges on any vehicular crossing or toll highway.
(b) A violation of subdivision (a) is subject to civil penalties and is neither an infraction nor a public offense, as defined in Section 15 of the Penal Code. The enforcement of those civil penalties shall be governed by the civil administrative procedures set forth in Article 4 (commencing with Section 40250) of Chapter 1 of Division 17. A notice of toll evasion issued in accordance with Section 40254 and pursuant to this section, Section 23302, or Section 40250 shall is a civil violation subject the registered owner to civil penalties.

(c)Amendments made to this section by Senate Bill 664 of the 2019–20 Regular Session shall apply retroactively to January 1, 2011.

SEC. 4.Section 40254 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:
40254.

(a)If a vehicle is found, by automated devices, visual observation, or otherwise, to have evaded tolls on a toll road or toll bridge, and subdivision (d) of Section 40250 does not apply, an issuing agency or a processing agency, as the case may be, shall, within 21 days of the violation, forward to the registered owner a notice of toll evasion violation setting forth the violation, including reference to the section violated, the approximate time of the violation, and the location where the violation occurred. If accurate information concerning the identity and address of the registered owner is not available to the processing agency within 21 days of the violation, the processing agency shall have an additional 45 calendar days to obtain such information and forward the notice of toll evasion violation. If the registered owner is a repeat violator, the processing agency shall forward the notice of toll evasion violation within 90 calendar days of the violation. “Repeat violator” means any registered owner for whom more than five violations have been issued pursuant to this section in any calendar month within the preceding 12-month period. The notice of toll evasion violation shall also set forth, if applicable, all of the following:

(1)The vehicle license plate number.

(2)If practicable, the registration expiration date and the make of the vehicle.

(3)If a vehicle is found, by automated devices, to have evaded the toll through failure to meet occupancy requirements, a copy of photographic evidence on which the determination was based.

(4)A clear and concise explanation of the procedures for contesting the violation and appealing an adverse decision pursuant to Sections 40255 and 40256.

(b)(1)After the authorized person has notified the processing agency of a toll evasion violation, the processing agency shall prepare and forward the notice of violation to the registered owner of the vehicle cited for the violation.

(2)On and after January 1, 2021, either of the following events shall constitute evidence of adequate delivery of notice:

(A)The notice of toll evasion is forwarded to the address provided by a state department of motor vehicles or any agency that functions in that role, as described in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (e) of Section 40250, or to an address provided by the National Change of Address System maintained by the United States Postal Service, and the notice is not returned as nondeliverable.

(B)If a notice of toll evasion sent pursuant to subparagraph (A) is returned as nondeliverable without a forwarding address and an issuing agency or processing agency intends to pursue a toll evasion penalty, an additional step is taken to identify a potential alternative address for purposes of sending the notice and the notice is forwarded to that address. If the additional step is taken, which may include a commercially available skiptracing service, and the notice is forwarded pursuant to this subparagraph, the time period for the registered owner shall be reset based on the date of that forwarding.

(3)A penalty for a toll evasion violation shall not be pursued unless the notice of the violation has been forwarded as set forth in this section.

(4)Any person, including the authorized person and any member of the person’s department or agency, or any peace officer who, with intent to prejudice, damage, or defraud, is found guilty of altering, concealing, modifying, nullifying, or destroying, or causing to be altered, concealed, modified, nullified, or destroyed, the face of the original or any copy of a notice that was retained by the authorized person before it is filed with the processing agency or with a person authorized to receive the deposit of the toll evasion violation is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(c)If, after a copy of the notice of toll evasion violation has been sent to the registered owner, the issuing person determines that, due to a failure of proof of apparent violation, the notice of toll evasion violation should be dismissed, the issuing agency may recommend, in writing, that the charges be dismissed. The recommendation shall cite the reasons for the recommendation and shall be filed with the processing agency.

(d)If the processing agency makes a finding that there are grounds for dismissal, the notice of toll evasion violation shall be canceled pursuant to Section 40255.

(e)Under no circumstances shall a personal relationship with any law enforcement officer, public official, law enforcement agency, processing agency, or toll operating agency or entity be grounds for dismissal of the violation.

(f)The processing agency shall use its best efforts to obtain accurate information concerning the identity and address of the registered owner for the purpose of forwarding a notice of toll evasion violation pursuant to subdivision (a) and may use any reliable source to obtain the information. Notwithstanding the foregoing sentence, complying with subdivision (b) shall constitute prima facie evidence of best efforts.

SEC. 4.

 Section 40254 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

40254.
 (a) If a vehicle is found, by automated devices, visual observation, or otherwise, to have evaded tolls on a toll road or toll bridge, and subdivision (d) of Section 40250 does not apply, an issuing agency or a processing agency, as the case may be, shall, within 21 days of the violation, forward to the registered owner a notice of toll evasion violation setting forth the violation, including reference to the section violated, the approximate time thereof, of the violation, and the location where the violation occurred. If accurate information concerning the identity and address of the registered owner is not available to the processing agency within 21 days of the violation, the processing agency shall have an additional 45 calendar days to obtain such information and forward the notice of toll evasion violation. If the registered owner is a repeat violator, the processing agency shall forward the notice of toll evasion violation within 90 calendar days of the violation. “Repeat violator” means any registered owner for whom more than five violations have been issued pursuant to this section in any calendar month within the preceding 12-month period. The notice of toll evasion violation shall also set forth, if applicable, all of the following:
(1) The vehicle license plate number.
(2) If practicable, the registration expiration date and the make of the vehicle.
(3) If a vehicle is found, by automated devices, to have evaded the toll through failure to meet occupancy requirements in a high-occupancy toll lane, a copy of photographic evidence on which the determination was based.
(4) A clear and concise explanation of the procedures for contesting the violation and appealing an adverse decision pursuant to Sections 40255 and 40256.
(b) After the authorized person has notified the processing agency of a toll evasion violation, the processing agency shall prepare and forward the notice of violation to the registered owner of the vehicle cited for the violation. Any person, including the authorized person and any member of the person’s department or agency, or any peace officer who, with intent to prejudice, damage, or defraud, is found guilty of altering, concealing, modifying, nullifying, or destroying, or causing to be altered, concealed, modified, nullified, or destroyed, the face of the original or any copy of a notice that was retained by the authorized person before it is filed with the processing agency or with a person authorized to receive the deposit of the toll evasion violation is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(c) If, after a copy of the notice of toll evasion violation has been sent to the registered owner, the issuing person determines that, due to a failure of proof of apparent violation, the notice of toll evasion violation should be dismissed, the issuing agency may recommend, in writing, that the charges be dismissed. The recommendation shall cite the reasons for the recommendation and shall be filed with the processing agency.
(d) If the processing agency makes a finding that there are grounds for dismissal, the notice of toll evasion violation shall be canceled pursuant to Section 40255.
(e) Under no circumstances shall a A personal relationship with any law enforcement officer, public official, law enforcement agency, processing agency agency, or toll operating agency or entity shall not be grounds for dismissal of the violation.
(f) The processing agency shall use its best efforts to obtain accurate information concerning the identity and address of the registered owner for the purpose of forwarding a notice of toll evasion violation pursuant to subdivision (a). (a) and may use any reliable source to obtain the information. Notwithstanding the foregoing sentence, complying with subdivision (b) shall constitute best efforts.
(g) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2021, and as of that date is repealed.

SEC. 5.

 Section 40254 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:

40254.
 (a) If a vehicle is found, by automated devices, visual observation, or otherwise, to have failed to pay or evaded tolls on a toll road, toll lane, or toll bridge, and subdivision (d) of Section 40250 does not apply, an issuing agency or a processing agency, as the case may be, shall, within 21 days of the violation, forward to the registered owner a notice of toll evasion violation setting forth the violation, including reference to the section violated, the approximate time of the violation, and the location where the violation occurred. If the processing agency is unable to obtain accurate information concerning the identity and address of the registered owner within 21 days of the violation, the processing agency shall have an additional 45 calendar days to obtain that information and forward the notice of toll evasion violation. If the toll and penalty are paid in full within 30 calendar days of the date on the corresponding notice of toll evasion violation, the penalty for the first three toll violations sent to a registered owner shall not exceed fifteen dollars ($15) per violation. If not paid in full within 30 calendar days of the date on the corresponding notice of toll evasion violation, the penalty associated with that unpaid toll violation may be escalated to the limits established by subdivision (a) of Section 40258. A fourth, and any subsequent, toll evasion violation sent to the registered owner shall only be subject to the limits established by subdivision (a) of Section 40258. If the registered owner is a repeat violator, the processing agency shall forward the notice of toll evasion violation within 90 calendar days of the violation. For purposes of this subdivision, “repeat violator” means any registered owner for whom more than five violations have been issued pursuant to this section in any calendar month within the preceding 12-month period. The notice of toll evasion violation shall also set forth, if applicable, all of the following:
(1) The vehicle license plate number.
(2) If practicable, the registration expiration date and the make of the vehicle.
(3) If a vehicle is found, by automated devices, to have evaded the toll through failure to meet occupancy requirements, a copy of photographic evidence on which the determination was based.
(4) A clear and concise explanation of the procedures for contesting the violation and appealing an adverse decision pursuant to Sections 40255 and 40256.
(5) A phone number an individual may call to pay the applicable toll and penalty.
(6) The outside of the envelope shall include the following statement in at least 12-point type: “WARNING: THIS ENVELOPE CONTAINS A NOTICE OF TOLL EVASION VIOLATION.”
(b) (1) After an authorized person has notified the processing agency of a toll evasion violation, the processing agency shall prepare and forward the notice of toll evasion violation to the registered owner of the vehicle cited for the violation.
(2) The following events shall constitute delivery of notice:
(A) The notice of toll evasion violation is forwarded to an address provided by a state department of motor vehicles or any agency that functions in that role, as described in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (e) of Section 40250, or to an address provided by the National Change of Address System maintained by the United States Postal Service, and the notice is not returned as nondeliverable. If the notice of toll evasion violation sent pursuant to this subparagraph is returned as nondeliverable with a forwarding address, sending the notice to the forwarding address shall constitute delivery of notice.
(B) If a notice of toll evasion violation sent pursuant to subparagraph (A) is returned as nondeliverable without a forwarding address and an issuing agency or processing agency intends to pursue a toll evasion penalty, an additional step shall be taken, which may include checking the National Change of Address System maintained by the United States Postal Service or using a commercially available skip tracing service, to attempt to identify a potential alternative address for purposes of sending the notice. If no potential alternative address is identified, no further additional steps are required to satisfy this subparagraph.
(C) If either a notice of toll evasion violation sent pursuant to subparagraph (A) is returned as nondeliverable with a forwarding address or a potential alternative address is identified pursuant to subparagraph (B), then, before the issuing agency or processing agency may pursue a toll evasion penalty, the notice shall be forwarded to the forwarding or potential alternative address. If the notice is forwarded to a forwarding or potential alternative address pursuant to this subparagraph, the time period for the registered owner to comply with the notice shall be reset based on the date of that forwarding.
(3) A penalty for a toll evasion violation shall not be pursued unless the requirements of paragraph (2) have been complied with.
(4) Any person, including the authorized person and any member of the person’s department or agency, or any peace officer who, with intent to prejudice, damage, or defraud, is found guilty of altering, concealing, modifying, nullifying, or destroying, or causing to be altered, concealed, modified, nullified, or destroyed, the face of the original or any copy of a notice that was retained by the authorized person before it is filed with the processing agency or with a person authorized to receive the deposit of the toll evasion violation is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(c) If, after a copy of the notice of toll evasion violation has been sent to the registered owner, the issuing person determines that, due to a failure of proof of apparent violation, the notice of toll evasion violation should be dismissed, the issuing agency may recommend, in writing, that the charges be dismissed. The recommendation shall cite the reasons for the recommendation and shall be filed with the processing agency.
(d) If the processing agency makes a finding that there are grounds for dismissal, the notice of toll evasion violation shall be canceled pursuant to Section 40255.
(e) A personal relationship with any law enforcement officer, public official, law enforcement agency, processing agency, or toll operating agency or entity shall not be grounds for dismissal of the violation.
(f) The processing agency shall use its best efforts to obtain accurate information concerning the identity and address of the registered owner for the purpose of forwarding a notice of toll evasion violation pursuant to subdivision (a) and may use any reliable source to obtain the information. Notwithstanding the foregoing sentence, complying with subdivision (b) shall constitute best efforts.
(g) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2021.

SEC. 6.

 Section 40267 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

40267.
 Except as otherwise provided in Sections 40268 and 40269, the processing agency shall proceed under one or more of the following options to collect an unpaid toll evasion penalty:
(a) The processing agency may file an itemization of unpaid toll evasion penalties and administrative and service fees with the department for collection with the registration of the vehicle pursuant to Section 4770.
(b) (1) If more than four hundred dollars ($400) in unpaid penalties and fees have been accrued by a person or registered owner, the processing agency may file proof of that fact with the court with the same effect as a civil judgment. Execution may be levied and other measures may be taken for the collection of the judgment as are authorized for the collection of an unpaid civil judgment entered against a defendant in an action on a debt. The court may assess costs against a judgment debtor to be paid upon satisfaction of the judgment. The processing agency shall send a notice by first-class mail to the person or registered owner indicating that a judgment shall be entered for the unpaid penalties, fees, and costs and that, after 30 days from the date of the mailing of the notice, the judgment shall have the same effect as an entry of judgment against a judgment debtor. Before the foregoing notice is sent, the processing agency or its designee shall attempt to identify a potential alternative address by taking an additional step, which may include a check of the National Change of Address System maintained by the United States Postal Service or the use of a commercially available skip tracing service. If a potential alternative address is identified, the notice shall be sent to the potential alternative address. If a potential alternative address is not identified, the notice shall be sent to the address on file. The person or registered owner shall also be notified at that time that execution may be levied against his or her their assets, liens may be placed against his or her their property, his or her their wages may be garnished, and other steps may be taken to satisfy the judgment. The filing fee plus any costs of collection shall be added to the judgment amount.
(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the processing agency shall pay the established first paper civil filing fee, if required by law, at the time an entry of civil judgment is requested.
(c) If the registration of the vehicle has not been renewed for 60 days beyond the renewal date, and the notice has not been collected by the department pursuant to Section 4770, the processing agency may file proof of unpaid penalties and fees with the court with the same effect as a civil judgment as provided in subdivision (b), except that if the amount of the unpaid penalties and fees is not more than four hundred dollars ($400), the filing fee shall be collectible by the court from the debtor.
(d) The issuing agency may contract with a collection agency to collect unpaid toll evasion penalties, fees, and charges. Before the collection agency sends out any debt collection notice an additional step shall be taken, which may include a check of the National Change of Address System maintained by the United States Postal Service or the use of a commercially available skip tracing service, to attempt to identify a potential alternative address. If a potential alternative address is identified, the notice shall be sent to the potential alternative address. If a potential alternative address is not identified, the notice shall be sent to the address on file. The issuing agency and collection agency shall not contract with a towing company to tow a vehicle for unpaid toll evasion penalties, fees, or charges.
(e) This section does not apply to the registered owner of a vehicle if the toll evasion violation occurred prior to before the registered owner taking possession of the vehicle and the department has notified the processing agency pursuant to Section 4774.

SEC. 7.

 (a) The amendment of Section 27565 of the Streets and Highways Code made by this act does not constitute a change in, but is declaratory of, existing law.
(b) Except for the amendments of subdivision (b), the second sentence of subdivision (i), the second and third sentences of subdivision (j), and the fourth sentence of subdivision (l), of Section 31490 of the Streets and Highways Code, the amendment of Section 31490 of the Streets and Highways Code made by this act does not constitute a change in, but is declaratory of, existing law.
(c) The amendment of Section 23302.5 of the Vehicle Code made by this act does not constitute a change in, but is declaratory of, existing law.