A TRUCK driver has been caught red-handed in a blatant attempt to dodge tolls while driving on CityLink.
The Herald Sun on Thursday photographed the driver as he pulled on to the side of the Western Ring Road, Broadmeadows, and jammed a piece of rubbish into his front licence plate.
The tactic, which obscured the first letter of the truck registration number, appears to be a crude way of escaping the vehicle recognition technology built to charge motorists for using the road.
Cameras pointed at the front of cars are used to photograph licence plates as the vehicle enters the toll point.
A customer cannot be charged the fee without the full set of numbers and letters.
A Herald Sun staff member spotted the truck about 8.30am on Thursday when it pulled into an emergency stopping bay on the way to the Tullamarine Freeway and CityLink.
"I thought he had a punctured tyre at first," she said.
"He got out and went to the number plate and that's when I started to wonder what he was doing.
"That emergency bay is the last stop you can really pull off to before you're on the freeway and he didn't cover up the back one. It's an Up and Go (drink) packet that's he put in there; it obviously looked like he has cut it out and slotted that in.
"After that, he's pulled back out on to 100kmh traffic and gone on his way."
Police can fine drivers $158.57 if they do not display their number plates correctly. Fines of $317 apply for those with altered or incorrect plates.
Road rules state all numbers and letters must be clearly visible from a distance of 20m.
A Transurban spokeswoman said 99 per cent of motorists who used City Link paid the required toll. "We remind everyone, whether driving on toll roads or the broader road network, that it is illegal to cover up your number plate and that penalties apply if you get caught doing so," she said.
VicRoads acting registration and licensing director Jill Fitzroy said police would investigate the driver. "It is an offence to obscure number plates and if they cannot be clearly read, Victoria Police can issue a traffic infringement notice for $158.57," Ms Fitzroy said.