How Safe Are California’s HOV Lanes?
Also known as car-pool lanes, California’s High Occupancy Vehicle lanes (HOV lanes) are reserved for vehicles in which the driver has at last one passenger with them in the vehicle. Their purpose is to reduce traffic congestion and to help encourage people to carpool. Read on to learn how safe these lanes are, if you can ever go in one without a passenger, and what to do if you are involved in an accident in one of these lanes.
If the police direct you to an HOV lane then you should follow
The California Highway Patrol is the entity responsible for enforcing HOV lanes. If you have an officer, or perhaps even an emergency vehicle, tell you that you need to override the signage then you should do so. They may do this if there is an accident and they need traffic to clear out. However, this is the only time you should do this. Note that the minimum ticket given for illegally using the HOV lane is $490.
Remember as well that there are other vehicles that can legally use the HOV without a passenger. For example, motorcycles, low-emission / green vehicles that have an HOV sticker, a charter bus, or a single-occupancy vehicle that pays a toll. As a result, you do not want to judge other vehicles in these lanes as they may be there legally without your knowledge.
You may be at a higher chance of getting into an accident in the HOV lane
There are many reasons you may want to travel in the HOV lane but a recent study has shown that it may be more dangerous. One group analyzed data from two different types of carpool lanes: Continuous HOV lanes, which are those where the driver can enter or exit at any point, and Limited Access HOV lanes where cars can only enter or exit at certain points.
Both options can lead to faster travel because of the change in traffic patterns and congestion, but you may be surprised to learn that more than 90% of rear-end and sideswipe collisions have been attributed to these lanes. They also found that the Limited Access lanes did not have safety advantages over the continuous access ones. In fact, the combined collision rates of both types and the lanes next to them were higher for the HOV that had limited access.
Have you been in an accident in an HOV lane or elsewhere?
If you have been involved in a car accident that was at least partially the fault of another person or entity then you should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. At Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas we are happy to begin with a free legal consultation so that you know what your options are. Trust our decades of experience and total commitment to the success of our clients. Now is the time to find out what your options are by calling 909-982-0707.