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HOV lane violations seeing sharp rise in Washington state, says WSP

WSP caught 170 HOV violators in just a 2.5-hour span in King County.

KING COUNTY, Wash. — Washington State Patrol troopers have seen a significant increase in drivers illegally using high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes just this past week, as they caught 170 HOV violators in just a 2.5-hour span in King County.

"By the time that HOV violators sees us there's a very good chance we already saw them," said Trooper Robert Reyer, the Public Information Officer with Washington State Patrol District 1.

Reyer believes drivers in Washington need a quick refresher on who can use HOV lanes.

"Those vehicles include public transportation vehicles, motorcycles, cars that don't have less than a pre-specified number of occupants inside them and some private transportation providers, if their vehicles can carry eight or more passengers," said Reyer.

Passengers don't include dummies or skeletons either, which some drivers have tried to use in the past and just because roads are getting busier, doesn't mean that's an excuse to break the law.

"Now that we're going back to pre-COVID numbers it seems like this patience has faded and now if you're stuck in traffic, it's very tempting to hop over into that HOV lane and then use that," said Reyer.

Last year in King County there were 6,035 HOV violators. Summer is not even over yet, and King County is already nearing that mark at 5,614. Meanwhile, Pierce and Thurston Counties have surpassed their totals from 2021, which was 750. This year alone, there have already been 801 HOV violators.

"We're looking at a fine about $189 for the first violation, if somebody gets caught a second time within two years of violating this law then we're looking at a fine of $339," said Reyer.

Reyer wants drivers to know, there are troopers working around the clock to ensure rules are being followed, and the roads and highways are safe.

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