SAN DIEGO — Still unsure how High-Occupancy Vehicle lanes work? Sgt. Brian Pennings with the California Highway Patrol stopped by the FOX 5 studio to discuss the Rules of the Road.
What’s the purpose of HOV lanes?
The purpose for HOV lanes is to allow people to carpool to reduce the amount of total vehicles on the roadways during commute traffic in high density populations, according to Pennings. HOV lanes are marked by black and white regulatory signs.
Who is allowed in HOV lanes?
Vehicles with more than one person are allowed in HOV lanes. Drivers in electric vehicles that have a purple decal (expires 1/1/23), an orange decal (expires (1/1/24), a blue decal (expires 1/1/25) or a yellow or a green decal (expires 9/30/25) issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can drive by themselves unless prohibited by local signs, according to the DMV. Motorcycles can use the lanes as well.
Who cannot use the HOV lanes?
Vehicles with only one occupant except some electric cars, as well as combination vehicles (tractor-trailer, doubles, triples, straight truck with trailer) that are required to maintain a speed of 55 mph and stay in the right lanes, Pennings said.
Are HOV lanes faster?
Pennings says it depends on the situation. If there’s a traffic crash in the lane, then it’ll block it up, but if there’s no traffic, it’s usually a smooth commute.
HOV and FasTrak: what’s the difference?
HOV is for multiple passengers while FasTrak is an intended lane where people can pay extra for a transponder to utilize it, and it doesn’t matter how many occupants you have in your vehicle, according to Pennings.
“Sometimes like on the 15 here in San Diego, it’s both. You can use HOV lane on the 15 as long as you have a FasTrak and be a solo occupant. Or you can use it without a transponder and you have multiple occupants,” Pennings said.
What can’t you do in HOV lanes?
Drivers cannot cross lanes if the HOV line is solid, Pennings said. You can only move out of the HOV lane when the line is broken or non-existent. A moving violation will be given if a driver moves to another lane when the line is solid.
Pennings recommends to use a GPS app ahead of time to know when your exit is approaching, so you can move from the HOV lane without committing a violation.
“If you’re on an app and you’re going northbound on the 15 using the HOV lane and you need to take the 78, well it will have you exit about a mile and a half before because there is no exit there as you approach 78, they’ll have you get out sooner or later,” Pennings said.