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H.O.V.

Have you recently received a violation for driving in a H.O.V. (high-occupancy vehicle) lane? Are you wondering what your options are?

What Are H.O.V. Lanes?

Before you can determine what your options are for a H.O.V. violation in Washington, it is probably best that you understand what it means.

H.O.V. lanes in Washington are typically the lanes farthest to the left. Sometimes these types of lanes are called carpool lanes, restricted lanes or diamond lanes. They are marked with signs and diamonds on the roadway. Usually H.O.V. lanes are separated from traditional lanes, with a thick white line. The purpose of the lanes is to alleviate congestion in Washington on main highways.

What Are H.O.V. Violations in Washington?

Tickets for H.O.V. violations in Washington, are given on large interstates, such as I-5 or I-90. Recently, these types of violations have become quite popular with the Washington State Police. H.O.V. lanes are important to the state of Washington, because they help reduce traffic during specific times of day.

Generally, people using H.O.V. lanes in Washington need to have a minimum of 2 people in a vehicle. The exception is if you are driving a motorcycle. In a few locations, the minimum number of people in a vehicle must be 3. It is important to pay attention to signage so that you know the minimum number of occupants before you use the H.O.V. lane. The ages of the people in the car do not matter.

How Can You Receive an H.O.V. Violation in Washington?

H.O.V. violations occur for several reasons. Typically reasons can include:

    • Not enough people in the vehicle
    • Vehicles using the H.O.V. lanes to pass another vehicle in the general lane
    • Trucks that are too heavy (over 10,000 pounds)
    • Vehicles that are towing a trailer which total weight exceeds 10,000 pounds

In the state of Washington, you can only receive a H.O.V. ticket from a police officer.  While the general public can call in a complaint, you cannot receive a ticket based on a phone complaint. In Washington State, there is a campaign encouraging the public to call a phone number if they see someone violating H.O.V. laws. You may have seen road signs notifying you to call "764-HERO." When a person notices a violation, they are to write down the license plate number and call it in.

You can’t receive a ticket from the phone call; however, the police will run your plate and send you a brochure, explaining the laws. They will also alert traffic officers of the violation, so they can be on the lookout for your vehicle, in an attempt to stop the violation from occurring again.

What Should You Do If You Receive a H.O.V. Violation?

In the state of Washington, H.O.V. violations are moving violations. This means that your insurance can increase due to the violation and your driving privileges may be affected.

In order to keep your driving record clear and your insurance costs down, you need the help of an experienced traffic attorney.

Michael D. Sheehan is an expert in Washington State traffic violations. His entire practice is devoted to those in need of experience and expertise on traffic infractions. If you recently received a H.O.V. violation in Washington and you are concerned about the consequences, contact Mr. Sheehan for a consultation now.


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