(KPIX 5) — The California Highway Patrol has launched a new effort to nab carpool cheaters amid a rise in tickets issued for HOV lane violations.
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission says that carpool cheating is so prevalent, the agency went to lawmakers to ask for a crackdown.
“So it’s one in five [vehicles] in the morning, one in four in the afternoon are really vehicles that aren’t eligible to be in the carpool lane,” said MTC spokesman John Goodwin.
The number of cheaters is on the rise statewide. The CHP issued 46,882 tickets last year, up 600 tickets from the year before and up more than 3,500 in 2014.
Some drivers believe it’s a losing battle to nab all the lane violators. “They don’t have enough CHP out there to get the guys that are cheating,” said commuter Will Thompson.
But the MTC says it has a solution for that. The agency wants CHP enforcement to be included in an existing bill that extends a popular carpool lane perk – a bill that allows drivers of electric and alternative-fuel vehicles to buy green or white stickers to legally use carpool lanes.
The MTC points out clean air cars are contributing the carpool congestion. Consider this – the Department of Motor Vehicles says that as of June 1st, more than 260,000 drivers have the coveted stickers.
It’s a bay area commute crisis. The question is, can the solution be fixed – in the fast lane?
“The real issue is the carpool lane cheaters,” said Goodwin. “Theclean air vehicles are a small portion of that.”
If a driver gets caught cheating in the carpool lane, the ticket is nearly $500. Plenty of people are still willing to take that risk.