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Carpool cheaters now face heftier fines

Drivers will face a nearly $200 fine the first time they are caught violating Washington state's HOV laws beginning July 28.

Drivers who violate Washington state's high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) laws will face higher fines beginning Sunday, July 28. 

Drivers caught without at least one other passenger in their vehicle while traveling in an HOV lane face a fine of $186. Second and subsequent carpool violations within two years would result in fines of $336. 

Additionally, drivers caught with a doll, dummy, or other human facsimile will face an additional fine of $200. 

RELATED: New laws going into effect in July

Carpool violators aren't an uncommon sight. During an emphasis patrol last September, the Washington State Patrol cited 1,671 drivers in three counties within a week. One driver was caught three times.  

The proposed fines are actually lower than what Sen. Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood) first proposed. Fines under the original legislation were as high as $755. 

The argument for increased fines is to get people out of the state's HOV lanes because they "frustrate congestion management efforts and incite anger in other transportation system users."