By Lucrecia Rivera, May, 2014
A High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) or Carpool lane is a highway lane restricted to vehicles with a minimum occupancy, usually two passengers. The concept is “move more people with less traffic”, and yes, they must be people!
Children count as people, but neither pets, unborn infants, or inflatable dolls count as an occupant. In 2007, Trooper Tony Brock pulled over a man for cruising on the highway carpool lane with a dolled-up mannequin as his fellow rider. "You name it, I've seen it," said Brock. Carpool cheaters tend to get more imaginative when the traffic worsens and the weather heats up.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is responsible for HOV lane enforcement. Once a monitor detects violation, district personnel will notify local area CHP of the need for heightened enforcement in a particular HOV corridor. HOV lane violation tickets carry a $490 fine, and fines may be higher for repeat offenders.
If you drive a Green vehicle , such as an Electric or plug-in hybrid, you are eligible to use the carpool lane as a single occupant (although carpooling is still encouraged!). Upon purchasing a Qualified vehicle and completing the Application form & you will be given a special sticker by the DMV. Carpool trips can be planned using the HOV Lanes map.