Collecting Taxes and Fees Using the Observation System

Commercial vehicle activity has grown faster than state and government enforcement resources can manage, and as a result, states may have uncollected tax revenues and credentialing fees. Automated enforcement using technologies such as red-light cameras, speed enforcement cameras, and license plate readers can help states generate revenue and improve safety compliance without relying on personal contact with law enforcement officials. While some enforcement actions still require officers to issue citations for violations of federal and state credentialing and tax laws, automating some components of commercial vehicle enforcement has the potential to improve the efficiency of commercial vehicle enforcement resources.

This study estimated the potential benefits of remote enforcement of weight–distance tax regulations in Kentucky, using data from camera-equipped Kentucky Automated Truck Screening (KATS) systems and PrePass weigh stations in Kentucky. The data sources were linked to administrative tax returns and Kentucky State Police citation data, and showed that implementation of KATS weigh stations increased monthly impounds by approximately $5,000 per station, or about 160%. The results indicate that remote enforcement can be used to enhance tax audits for Kentucky’s weight–distance tax and can assist state DOTs in targeting carriers that violate licensing and permitting requirements.

KTC’s Andrew Martin presented his paper, Estimating Benefits of Automated Commercial Vehicle Enforcement, at the annual TRB meeting in January 2019. His presentation was featured in the Transport Topics online newsletter, and the paper was published in the Transportation Research Record. Click here to download the full report.

KTC submitted this project through the Sweet Sixteen competition, and it is being considered for the High Value Research project compendium.