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Driver risks $385 fine for ‘stealth’ device to avoid toll on Australia’s most expensive road

The device costs about $270 online, but the driver could pay more if they are caught.

A driver in Melbourne is risking a fine after installing a sneaky contraption on his ute to dodge the cost of road tolls. The vehicle was filmed driving on the Monash Freeway on Thursday with its number plate visible, however an automatic curtain came over it as it passed under toll gates.

The motorist appears to be using a ‘Stealth Plate Curtain’ sold online for about $270. An American website selling the device said the plate covering is designed to be used “when displaying your vehicle at car shows, track events or for photoshoots” and warns against using them on the road.

Only Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney use toll roads and the average driver pays about $67.87 a week, or $3,529.24 a year, according to the Australian Automobile Association’s latest Affordability Index. Melbourne is the least expensive of the three at $59.40 a week, however it’s a lot lower than the $385 fine the driver is risking for not displaying their number plate.

This driver is risking a $385 fine for using a device to cover their number plate.
This driver is risking a $385 fine for using a device to cover their number plate. (3AW)

Are you struggling with rising costs? Contact belinda.grantgeary@yahooinc.com

CityLink is Australia’s most expensive toll road. If you’re in a car, you can expect to pay a maximum of $11.27 for a single trip, while dual-cab utes and other light commercial vehicles pay up to $18.04.

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If you’re using the road more often, you can pay for a 24-hour pass but that’s $21.63 for a car and $46.90 for a light commercial vehicle.

Transurban’s Australian e-tag business, Linkt, operates major toll roads in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, including CityLink. A spokesperson told Yahoo Finance there are hundreds of cameras along the toll road and footage could be sent to police.

“More than 99 percent of people do the right thing and pay the required toll to use CityLink,” Transurban said. “Whether driving on toll roads or the broader road network, it is illegal to cover up number plates and penalties apply if people get caught doing so.

"Drivers are encouraged to do the right thing and ensure their number plates are in clear sight, and that their Linkt account details are up to date."

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