High Occupancy Vehicle Violations
Motor vehicle drivers should understand the role that high occupancy vehicles (also referred to as carpool lanes) play on Georgia motorways. Designed to increase the number of passengers rather than vehicles on the road, high occupancy vehicle lanes are reported to carry nearly half of all individuals on the freeway.
If you are charged with a violation involving a high occupancy vehicle lane in the state of Georgia, it is often a wise idea to retain the services of gifted legal counsel like the law firm of Yeargan, Barber & Kert. Individuals can also increase their chances of receiving high occupancy vehicle lane tickets by understanding some important information about the role that these lanes play in the state of Georgia.
The History of High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes
High occupancy vehicle lanes first opened in Atlanta on December 14, 1994 with eighteen miles of lane opening that connect Interstate 20 from Downtown to Interstate 285. In 1996, sixty additional miles of high occupancy lane opened on Interstate 75 and Interstate 85. An additional twenty three miles of high occupancy vehicle lane was added to Interstate 85 in Gwinnett County in 2001. These high occupancy vehicle lanes in the state of Georgia are identified by the white diamonds on signs above and painted on the lanes in addition to the double lines separating the lanes from the other lanes of traffic.
The Role of High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes in Georgia
Regular flow lanes are not ever converted into high occupancy vehicle lanes, but instead high occupancy vehicle lanes are always added to existing facilities.
Motor vehicles that travel on high occupancy vehicle lanes must carry the minimum number of people posted at the road’s entrance signs. These minimum occupancy numbers are frequently either two or three individuals including the motor vehicle’s driver. One child constitutes one occupant for the purposes of these regulations.
In addition to passenger requirements, some high occupancy vehicles lanes only operate during certain hours each day and outside of these hours all vehicles are allowed to travel.
Studies have found that high occupancy vehicle lanes ease congestion but also likely increase the danger of freeway driving. In 2005, NBC News reported that between an 11 to 56 percent increase occurred in the rate of injury crashes after carpool lanes were added to existing freeways. The most common accidents are rear-end collisions in high occupancy vehicle lanes due to slower moving vehicles attempting to merge with faster moving motor vehicles.
Vehicles Permitted to Use High Occupancy Vehicle Lane
There are several types of vehicles that are permitted to use high occupancy vehicle lanes which includes: alternative fuel vehicles licensed with an alternative fuel certified license plate, buses, emergency vehicles (including fire, law enforcement, and medical vehicle), motorcycles, and vehicles carrying the permitted number of vehicles.
Potential Consequences of High Occupancy Vehicle Lane Charges
Individuals who violate high occupancy vehicle lane law should appreciate that they will be charged with misdemeanors. These charges carry hefty fines including:
- A $75 maximum fine in additional court fees for a first time high occupancy vehicle violation.
- A $100 maximum fine as well as court fees for a second offense.
- A $150 maximum fine in addition to court fees for a third offense
- A $150 maximum court fee for a fourth offense in addition to one point being place on an individual’s driver’s license.
Retain the Services of a Skilled Atlanta Defense Attorney
For motor vehicle drivers who have been injured in high occupancy vehicle lanes in the state of Georgia, it is a wise idea to contact the legal team at Yeargan, Barber & Kert who can begin to take steps today to make sure that your case resolves in the best possible manner. Do not hesitate to contact our firm today.