Tell Us: Are Carpool Lane Violators on Interstate 405 A Problem?

A Patch community member says that the Washington State Patrol should better monitor Interstate 405 for high-occupancy vehicle lane violators. Do you notice that it's an issue? Tell us in the comments.

Carpool lane violators on Interstate 405 are a problem, says one Patch community member.

He writes that the Washington State Patrol should better monitor Interstate 405 and State Route 520 for high-occupancy vehicle lane violators:

Every morning when taking the exit from 405 to Redmond to 520 there are numerous violators who drive in the carpool lane with only one person in the car, as they try to beat the traffic rush. If the WSP had a patrol car there to catch these violators the state would benenfit greatly from the additional source of income, which I think it could use to provide needed services. I will look forward to seeing the WSP on the job soon.

What do you think? Do you agree that HOV lane violations are a problem? 

According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, the state's hotspots for HOV lane violations include: Interstate 405 in downtown Bellevue, Totem Lake SR and between State Route 167 and Interstate 90; and State Route 520 at 84th and 92nd Avenues NE.

In Washington, motorists can report violations themselves through the Washington State Department of Transportation's HERO program, either online through the or by calling at 1-877-764-HERO. The state send an educational brochure to first-time violators. Second-time HOV lane violators are sent a letter from WSDOT. Third-time HOV lane violators are sent a letter from the Washington State Patrol, according to the state's HERO page.

In 2010, Washington issued 7,570 tickets and 2,850 warnings to carpool lane violators statewide, according to the state.

Patch community, we ask you: Have you ever turned a carpool lane violator in? Do you ever find yourself in the HOV lane when you don't have another passenger in the car? Tell us why in the comments.

Jesse Ray January 24, 2013 at 08:00 PM
I agree it is a problem. Between HOV violators and "keep right except to pass" violators, the police need to do a better job of enforcement. In my experience drivers that are the sole occupant and use the HOV lanes illegally often lane change quickly in and out of the HOV lane before/after common WSP monitoring spots (attempt to avoid a potential HOV violator ticket). These drivers often slow traffic by switching back and forth between the HOV lane and lane #1 (left lane). I've seen a number of close-calls because of this kind of driving. I report HOV violators whenever I have a passenger in the car that can record the required information - Make, Model, color, license plate #, time and location.
Jeff Hoerth January 25, 2013 at 04:15 AM
I have called the HERO phone number when I see a violator but have to say now that finding the official response is not one, not two, but three letters hardly motivates me to continue to do so. Perhaps there's a legal reason why a ticket can't be issued but after taking the time to give all the details, letters are not what I was hoping for. Initial violation, yes. But repeat offenders? More has to be done and if more is being done, let us and the violators know so we feel compelled to continue reporting.
Greg Johnston (Editor) January 25, 2013 at 03:22 PM
Know what you mean Jeff, when I used to commute to Seattle occasionally I'd report HOV lane violators and never heard anything back at all, so never knew if it made any difference at all.
susan phelps January 25, 2013 at 04:40 PM
Who cares, those who report should find other things to do besides report cheats. WSP has better things to do too. We all pay taxes, which include roads, which makes us all entitled. Mind your own biz!
JuneGloom January 25, 2013 at 04:59 PM
Susan, I wonder about that too. We all pay taxes for the roads and highways, why more tolls and more regulated lanes that we can't all drive in?
Sharon January 25, 2013 at 06:11 PM
I drive from Lynnwood to Bellevue every day and I often see the WSP at work. They can't catch everyone. The number of cheaters outnumber the number of patrolmen, but I know the WSP is trying. And really, it does me no harm if someone cheats. It might irritate me because I'd like to use that lane, but it actually benefits me because it's one less car in front of me.
Jessica January 25, 2013 at 08:44 PM
I've been pulled over for being in the carpool lane when I shouldn't have and I've never done it again due to the hefty price I paid for the ticket. I do think there is a lot of HOV lane abuse. Now that I drive in the carpool lane with a carpool buddy I see it a lot. Usually the abusers of the HOV lane are also aggressive, dangerous drivers who cause accidents and slow downs for those of us trying to abide by the law. Also those of us in the HOV lane are trying to lessen our impact on the environment and traffic still backs up in the HOV lanes. So something isn't working as it should. I think HOV lane abuse is one part of a major transportation problem on 405 that could be solved with better bus service on the east side corridor (for the entire corridor not just to Bellevue) Getting a ticket for HOV lane abuse is a deterrent to repeat offenses and should be done more.


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