A Redwood City Traffic Ticket Lawyer Discusses Misuse Of Carpool Lanes

Posted on June 24, 2013


Have you received a ticket for misuse of the carpool lane? Are you unsure if your traffic infraction involves the carpool lane? There are a few technicalities when it comes to citations involving the carpool lane, and your Redwood City traffic ticket attorney can tell you more about them.

What exactly is a carpool lane?

A carpool lane, or High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane, is one that has been designated for use by vehicles carrying a specified minimum number of people. Usually the minimum is two, the driver and one other person, but in some places the required number is three. Signs are posted to let you know how many people must be in the car.

How do I identify the carpool lane?

Carpool lanes are usually designated with signs, are set off by a broken double yellow or white line, and often are marked by diamonds painted on the road surface.

Are unborn infants and pets considered passengers?

No. Although infants in car seats and children do count as passengers, a pregnant woman cannot claim her unborn child. Your Redwood City traffic ticket attorney can tell you that a passenger is a living human being occupying a seat separate from the driver. In other words, at least two bona fide people independent of each other must be present in the vehicle in order for the driver to use the carpool lane.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes. Motorcycles, either with or without a passenger, are permitted to use carpool lanes. Single drivers in no emission vehicles, such as hydrogen fuel cell-powered or electric cars are also permitted to use them. Usually an identifying sticker is required to indicate that the car as “green”. Your Redwood City traffic ticket attorney can advise you as to whether or not your vehicle qualifies for this exemption.

What constitutes misuse of a carpool lane?

As your Redwood City traffic ticket attorney can explain, you are misusing a carpool lane if:

  • you are the only person in your vehicle and it does not meet the “green” standard;
  • you have entered the carpool lane by crossing the broken lines instead of using the designated entrance and exits;
  • you are attempting to create the illusion that you’re carrying a passenger when you aren’t. For example, there have been instances in which some more-than-ordinarily inventive drivers have used mannequins, inflatable dolls, dummies and other tricks to give the impression that a passenger is present when, in fact, the driver was alone.
What happens if I break the rules governing the carpool lane?

If you violate car pool lane regulations, as your Redwood City traffic ticket lawyer can verify, you are breaking the law. The police have the right to pull you over and may either give you a citation for the offense or possibly simply direct you back onto the highway depending on the laws in your state. Your Redwood City traffic ticket attorney can advise you with regard to what to expect if you are stopped for this reason, and what your rights may be under the law.

Don’t be confused about carpool lane rules

If you are uncertain about the regulations governing carpool lanes or feel that you have been unjustly ticketed for breaking one of them, don’t delay. Call a Redwood City traffic ticket attorney with Silveira Law at (415) 795-3890 for help.