California Vehicle Code 21655.8
HOV lanes, or High Occupancy Vehicle lanes, have been around since the early 1970s. Designed to reduce traffic congestion and pollution, they’ve become a standard feature of many freeways, especially in urban areas where the freeway runs through and around larger cities. While they can certainly save drivers time and great amounts of frustration, there are rules for using them. Those rules not only refer to the minimum number of occupants in the vehicles using the lanes, but also the types of vehicles that can use them and how to enter and exit the lanes properly.
The law has allowed for exceptions to the rules governing the use of HOV lanes and some of them can be a little confusing for commuters to decipher. For instance, motorcycles can use the lanes. If a lane is designated HOV for only certain hours of the day, single-person vehicles can use it outside of those hours and vehicles with certain “clean air” decals can use the lanes no matter how many people are inside it.
Regardless if you are in a high occupancy vehicle or fall under one of the exceptions, you still have to enter and exit the HOV lanes properly which can be the cause of some consternation for some drivers. You can tell what part of the freeway are designated as HOV areas because they are indicated with a solid, double yellow line running along the right side for the length of the HOV area. There are specific areas for entering and exiting the HOV lanes and they are designated by a broken yellow line. Entering or exiting an HOV lane by crossing the double yellow line is against the law.
CVC 21655.8 is the statute which covers this law:
(a) Except as required under subdivision (b), when exclusive or preferential use lanes for high-occupancy vehicles are established pursuant to Section 21655.5 and double parallel solid lines are in place to the right thereof, no person driving a vehicle may cross over these double lines to enter into or exit from the exclusive or preferential use lanes, and entrance or exit may be made only in areas designated for these purposes or where a single broken line is in place to the right of the exclusive or preferential use lanes.
The code delves into the ways in which preferential lanes are designated and partitioned on the roadway. The lanes need to be properly marked to ensure that individuals know when enter or exit the lane properly. If you traverse the double lines, you may receive a citation, regardless of your compliance with the regulations of travel in the lanes themselves.
Entering or Exiting a Preferential Lane can be Tricky & Expensive
Receiving a traffic ticket for violating CVC 21655.8 can hold some significant consequences. As a starter, there’s a fairly hefty fine which combined with the added fees added by the court add up to a minimum $490. On top of that, a point will be added to your driver’s license. Keep in mind that these are citations that can be challenged for a full dismissal. When you challenge the citation you are requiring the citing officer to demonstrate proof of the situation beyond a reasonable doubt.
If you’ve received a California traffic ticket for a violation of CVC 21655.8, contact us to learn more about your citation. We also offer a free ticket review.