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Police nab hundreds in HOV sting

hov.JPG
Virginia State Police pull over drivers at an entrance ramp to Interstate 66 on Wednesday. (Gerald Martineau for The Washington Post)

Local and state police in Maryland and Virginia cited hundreds of drivers for violating HOV rules on Wednesday, authorities said.

The effort was part of the region's second "Capitol Region HOV Awareness Day."

The campaign yielded resulted in 713 citations for HOV violations:
-- First offense: 684
-- Second offense: 25
-- Third offense: 3 (Virginia)
-- Fourth offense: 1 (Virginia)

Under Virginia regulations, a first offense is $125; a second is $250, plus three points on your license; a third, $500, plus three points; and a fourth a whopping $1,000, plus three points. In Maryland the violations carry a $90 fine and one point.

Law enforcement also cited nine people for reckless driving and 68 for speeding. Additionally, authorities recorded 52 equipment violations; 53 inspection violations; 18 expired registrations; 24 drivers with revoked or invalid licenses; 10 drivers without licenses; 41 people who weren't buckled up; and two instances where children weren't properly fastened in a safety seat.

State police from Maryland and Virginia, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police and authorities from Fairfax and Arlington counties participated in the effort during morning and evening rush hours.

By Michael Bolden  | July 22, 2010; 10:20 AM ET
Categories:  Commuting, Driving, Maryland, Virginia  
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Comments

WOW! Perhaps they need to do this more often, judging by the numbers and the more serious violations they cited.

Posted by: Tony-Tony-Tony | July 22, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, crime... Oh, who cares!

Enforcing HOV is far more important.

Posted by: ceefer66 | July 22, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Thank you! It is about time seeing as though I take 395-S daily with my 3 siblings. Because there are 4 of us in the car we are allowed to utilize the HOV lane, but the traffic is so bad in the other three lanes that people who aren't authorized to use the HOV use it anyway creating traffic on both sides of the highway. Thank god they started enforcing this because it honestly isn't fair to those who have the 2 or more people traveling in their car. I just want to say thanks to all the police officers out there doing their job.

Posted by: kelzdagreat16 | July 22, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I guess it's just more people than normal. When I used to drive 7 West in the afternoons I'd see a cop sitting at the exit from 66 to 7, just waiting to where a driver was committed to the exit and seeing if they were coming off with just one person. There was sometimes a line of cars pulled over.

Posted by: kmcandrew | July 22, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Ceefer-- The State Police should be enforcing traffic laws on the roads-- that is why they are there. The local departments have primary jurisdiction over crimes in their areas. I'd rather have the State Police enforcing traffic laws (which, when broken is a crime)--- Besides, even though I am not, nor would I ever be a resident of Virginia, enforcing traffic is easy money for any state/jurisdiction. If you don't want a ticket, don't break the law.

Posted by: Aimhigh2000 | July 22, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Yea but how many were in the country illegally?

Posted by: dedlinetosilverspring | July 22, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

"I'd rather have the State Police enforcing traffic laws (which, when broken is a crime) ...."

The parenthetical phrase is not accurate in most states as to most traffic violations. They're classified as "infractions" so as to avoid the need to give accused motorists the rights guaranteed to criminal defendants by the US Constitution as applied to the states. SOME traffic infractions are classified as criminal offenses (running from the cops is a common one; DWI qualifies in many states as well), but things like HOV violations or simple speeding are not normally classified as criminal offenses.

I do think that anyone who gets a ticket for violating HOV rules has no basis for protesting unless the person is from out of the area and has no idea what HOV means, but then the cop pulling the motorist over can use his judgment when interviewing the person to decide whether a ticket is warranted. For example, I'm sure we get the occasional European tourist who has never heard of "HOV." If I were the cop, I might be sympathetic in that case depending on the circumstances.

As far as dealing with crime versus dealing with traffic goes, what has a more immediate effect on most people in the area--crime or traffic? I'd wager the answer most people would give is traffic.

Posted by: 1995hoo | July 22, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Great! There are a lot of folks driving fast and recklessly, weaving in and out of traffic. It is probably difficult for police to spot these drivers, but they are probably the same drivers that drive singly in the HOV lanes. So, by nabbing HOV violators, the police are surely nabbing a bunch of reckless drivers as well.

Posted by: Derby67 | July 22, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Per my calculations, they made $97K yesterday.

Not a bad haul.

Posted by: whitneyuevans | July 22, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

If you ever drive along 66 or 395, you rarely see an HOV violator driving a clunker. Most of them drive luxury car like the one in the picture of this article. It's like they are saying I'm rich, my time is more precious than yours and I can afford some tix. They should make a law that 3 strikes and your car will be impounded. That will make them think twice.

Posted by: BabuiBoomerang | July 22, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

If the state made $97,000 from these violations, they should start doing that everyday. $35/million dollars a year from catching violators would be a nice chunk of change for the state.

Posted by: AlbyVA | July 22, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

@AlbyVA: The processing fee will be on top of that. I think it is from $65 and up. That's Virginia. I don't know about MD.

Posted by: BabuiBoomerang | July 22, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

@ Aimhigh2000

"Ceefer-- The State Police should be enforcing traffic laws on the roads-- that is why they are there. The local departments have primary jurisdiction over crimes in their areas. I'd rather have the State Police enforcing traffic laws (which, when broken is a crime)--- Besides, even though I am not, nor would I ever be a resident of Virginia, enforcing traffic is easy money for any state/jurisdiction. If you don't want a ticket, don't break the law."

Oh, please!

Spare me the holier-than-thou lecture and save yourself a ruptured blood vessel. I don't commute on a route with HOV so the enforcement doesn't directly affect me.

I do, however, have a problem with the reservation of lanes - and an entire road in the case of I-66 - that ALL of us pay for the use of a few who find it convenient to follow rules set aside for a relative few "privileged characters".

While we're on this, consider what motivates people to violate HOV rules - awful congestion. A situation directly attributable to the efforts of road haters as well as those deluded into believing that HOV, along with Metro, makes adding road capacity unnecessary.

Where do you fall?

Posted by: ceefer66 | July 22, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

HOV in the wash metro area is a complete joke..unless you enforce 24hours a day the risk of getting caught is worth the risk..in larger metro areas traffic is about attitude and in wash dc dont you know who i am is the prevailing attitude..when i moved back to the area after a long absence hov was the first thing i noticed...just another slow news day i guess...

Posted by: wmnatzakanian | July 22, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Are you able to use 66 west during the afternoon HOV time if you are headed to Dulles? Anyone know...?

Posted by: 123cartoon | July 22, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Nevermind. Found it.

http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/hov-rulesfaq.asp

Posted by: 123cartoon | July 22, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who reads the papers knows that huge quantities of illegal drugs and weapons are transported along I-95 daily.

And those charged with patrolling the highways are concerned with...HOV. While the privileged few who use HOV are cheering because of the revenue collected -as if it will give THEM anything.

Go figure.

Posted by: ceefer66 | July 22, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

They wonder why they're called pigs. How about addressing violent crime instead of harassing taxpayers, pigs.

Posted by: Trout1 | July 22, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I understand they're going to do their enforcement - and they do everyday on 66. There are multiple cops on most entrance and exit ramps during rush hour. But the way they are going about it during these sting days is excessive and dangerous.
Yesterday was the 2nd time I've been travelling down 66 (with 2 in my car) at 55 MPH only to suddenly hit a wall of traffic. The cops should not be able to completely stop traffic on 66. It's dangerous and time consuming. On top of hitting the sudden wall of stopped traffic, it took me more than 10 minutes to get through it. This was 10 minutes I didn't have built into my commute time.
On top of all of that the cop I passed waved me on. Or so I thought. I would think waving at the person means they're good to continue. As I passed him he banged his hand on my car several times. When I rolled down the window he started shouting at me that I was supposed to pull over. I would thinking pointing at the side of the road would make more sense than waving, if you want to pull over. He didn't even apologize when he realized it was his mistake and that I had 2 people in the car.
There is absolutely no reason they can't stick with the enforcing at the entrance and exit ramps on 66, where people are already stopped, instead of causing an additional traffic jam.

Posted by: nire | July 22, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Bout time some taxpayer money got spent to catch CRIMINALS. HOV violators (and I am 100% opposed to HOV lanes) are criminals. The initial fine is far too low.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | July 22, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Just about every speeder says "You ought to be after a bank robber."

Well where do people die?

Not in bank hold ups.

Just because you can whine does not mean that you are always right or even sane.

Posted by: gary4books | July 22, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I find it ironic that "Capitol Region HOV Awareness Day" coincides with "Budget Deficit Month". Traffic Enforment is just another term for "Debt Collector".

A degree in Finance is all the qualification you need to work in law enforcement now.

Posted by: maxwell1004 | July 22, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Why is anyone with a third or fourth offense still driving?

Posted by: jiji1 | July 22, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

To the owner of the Caddy CTS in the picture with the EASILY VISIBLE license plate, wouldn't you agree that although you were nabbed for violating HOV laws, it does not entitle the Wash Post or VDOT to let your license plate remain visible in this article? They should've used some common courtesy and blanked out your plate. Having said this, I think you can contact a similar character of Jackie Chiles from "Seinfeld" and follow his recommendation. Just don't take the lifetime supply of cafe lattes as a settlement!

Posted by: MoCoPride | July 22, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

What, exactly, would anyone do with the Cadillac's license plate numbers? Apply for a credit card? Get a fake passport? Only someone who thinks Seinfeld offers good legal advice would post something so moronic.

Posted by: Tom Jackman | July 22, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

by the time salaries, health care, pensions, vacation time credits, etc....are paid, the entire operation will have run a deficit...

time to cut public employee salaries and benefits....they are way, way overpaid.

Posted by: OldSalt8 | July 22, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Hooray for HOV Enforcement!! If you look at the stats, there are relatively few second offenders, meaning that enforcement really works. And it raises cash for the state. For those of you who oppose HOV based on the odd idea that HOV is for the privileged, it isn't. It is for those who plan and sacrifice to car pool and for those (like me) who have hybrids or motorcycles. Wealth or privilege have nothing to do with it. Get the violators off the road.

Posted by: conchfc | July 22, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse


I got off by having my trunk monkey give the Trooper a jelly donut!

Posted by: nuke41 | July 22, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Once again, the little fascists are out in force. Some day it will be your turn, you reap what you sew.

Posted by: Trout1 | July 22, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

How many of these drivers were ILLEGAL ALIENS? If it was AZ they would be asked for proof of citizenship. Was is VA silent? Why isnt McDonnell pushing a similar law? Lets go!!!! NO amnesty NO Amnesty No Amnesty. Vote out HArry Reid and all DEMoncats.

Posted by: espnfan | July 22, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

You're all at fault for the congestion so I don't see why anyone is throwing stones.

Posted by: ronjaboy | July 22, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

"To the owner of the Caddy CTS in the picture with the EASILY VISIBLE license plate, wouldn't you agree that although you were nabbed for violating HOV laws, it does not entitle the Wash Post or VDOT to let your license plate remain visible in this article?"

The driver of the Cadillac was on a public roadway and the ticket will be a matter of public record. There are ample court holdings regarding the minimal expectation of privacy one has when using the public roadways. (You might THINK you're picking your nose or scratching your balls in private when you're stopped at that red light, but you're not, and if someone shoots a video and puts it on YouTube, you have no valid beef, other than maybe "NO! No pick! It was a scratch!") The Post is perfectly entitled to show a photo of the car, and I'm sure the Post editors in charge of these blogs are well-enough versed in the laws on such matters that an impermissible photo wouldn't have slipped through.

As far as it being "common courtesy" to fuzz out the license plate...why? The driver of this car clearly doesn't care about "common courtesy," given that he was apparently ignoring the HOV rules.

Posted by: 1995hoo | July 22, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Worthless scumsucking pigs each and every one. When one of them gets run over for jumping into traffic I'll, be the first to celebrate because then and only then will they stop this nonsense. Traffic around here is bad enough without these pricks jumping in the road and slowing things down.

Posted by: hotnbothered21 | July 22, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Red light cameras, HOV "stings", sobriety checkpoints - all good ways to increase state revenues.

I noticed no reference to how many were driving without insurance...

How many had Virgina license plates with Maryland home addresses?

Posted by: cibor | July 22, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

The only regret that I have about this sting operation is that I wasn't there to witness it. Gotta love the picture of the lincoln getting pulled over.

Posted by: zackool | July 22, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

congratulations to the va and md authorities. good work

Posted by: slim4 | July 22, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

1995hoo wrote:
European tourist who has never heard of "HOV." If I were the cop, I might be sympathetic in that case depending on the circumstances.

Actually they do have something similar. I was recently in Brussels and there were HOV lanes marked, although I don't believed they were labeled "HOV" but it was clear they were for vehicles with more than one occupant. In addition, I'm not certain that casual foreign tourists would be able to drive in the US because they would not have a license. But perhaps there is a provision for that.

zackool wrote:
Gotta love the picture of the lincoln getting pulled over.

Actually, it's a cadillac as you can see from the emblem in the front grill. But an expensive luxury car, just the same.

Sorry, didn't mean to be picky. My HOV pet peeve is people jumping into the HOV lanes too soon and causing massive merge backups at the end of the HOV lanes before those who obey the lanes get beyond the merge point. Come in past the pentagon in the morning anywhere between 8:45 and 9:00 is a real mess, and it gets doubly worse when everyone jumps on the HOV lanes at 9:00 and tries to merge with the back up of people who were stuck in the regular lanes prior to that time. I would be in favor of extending the HOV time limit well past the current time period to encourage more carpooling. It's no big deal in the DC are to wait until 6 p.m. to leave work so why bother arranging car pooling. extending the hours might encourage more people to attempt ridesharing options

Posted by: dlpetersdc | July 22, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

There is a debate to be had over whether there should be HOV lanes, though I think there the evidence is that they serve a valuable purpose in reducing overall congestion. There should not be a debate over whether violators should be targeted and fined to the full extent of the law.

As to the argument that congestion "causes" the HOV violations, that will now join the Twinkie defense as lamest excuses ever for breaking the law. Each violator knowingly broke the law. End of story

Posted by: krickey7 | July 22, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

@hotnbothered21

"Worthless scumsucking pigs each and every one. When one of them gets run over for jumping into traffic I'll, be the first to celebrate because then and only then will they stop this nonsense. Traffic around here is bad enough without these pricks jumping in the road and slowing things down."

Not worth it.

Just imagine: The media and the political hacks and "officials" will paint the cop as some "hero", spend thousands of taxpayer funds and man-hours to give the officer a grand sendoff while they make an example of the poor driver who had the misfortune of hitting the officer who jumped out into traffic.

What we need to do is campaign for an end to HOV and vote out any hack who won't go along.

Posted by: ceefer66 | July 22, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Until recently, I drove route 50 in Maryland every week day. Because of my hours I am a solo driver. In over three years of driving route 50 I never once saw a concerted enforcement of the HOV lanes and only rarely saw anyone pulled over for violating the HOV. It was not for a lack of people violating the HOV lanes either. Dozens of self important, me first, I'm in a hurry jerks went by the rest of us law abiding drivers every day. Maryland needs to step up its game.

Posted by: dmosgoo | July 22, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone at The Washington Post monitoring these comments before they are posted? I find the level of incivility, rudeness and profanity of many of the comments, not to mention some of their sheer stupidity, to be unbelievable.

Posted by: jculfsr | July 22, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

@BabuiBoomerang
“If you ever drive along 66 or 395, you rarely see an HOV violator driving a clunker. Most of them drive luxury car like the one in the picture of this article. It's like they are saying I'm rich, my time is more precious than yours and I can afford some tix.”

Oh, come on. You’re telling me you can identify all the HOV violators so you can conclude what type of cars they drive? Why aren’t you paying attention to the road? I’ve seen violators drive a wide variety of cars.

The only downside to this crackdown is that it actually slows down the regular lanes with the rubbernecking at the sight of the flashing lights.

Posted by: AndrewKB | July 22, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Crime does not pay for new roads but HOV violators can pay for repaving 66. The cops must be reading my posts because I reported last month that I was stuck in traffic in Oakton surrounded by violators.

Posted by: jercha | July 22, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

"1995hoo wrote:
"European tourist who has never heard of 'HOV.' If I were the cop, I might be sympathetic in that case depending on the circumstances.

"Actually they do have something similar. I was recently in Brussels and there were HOV lanes marked, although I don't believed they were labeled 'HOV' but it was clear they were for vehicles with more than one occupant. In addition, I'm not certain that casual foreign tourists would be able to drive in the US because they would not have a license. But perhaps there is a provision for that."

Most foreign tourists can definitely drive in the USA, same as we can generally drive in their countries. Sometimes it's recommended that you have an International Driving Permit, but it's not always needed. I didn't get an IDP whenever I've driven in Canada, Mexico, or the UK, for example. When I was a student I had a roommate one year who was from France and he leased a car while he was here and drove all the time, so it's definitely not a problem.

My point about a foreign tourist not knowing what "HOV" means was getting to the point you make about that particular term. I know they have restricted lanes in many places and it's just a question of knowing what the signs mean. Also, ignorance of the law is no excuse, and certainly when we go to Europe we encounter lots of symbol-based signs that can be quite different from the ones we use here and we still have to obey them. The same is true of foreign tourists here. Our signs also tend to be more detailed than signs in Europe, if overly English-centric.

But anyway, I remember when the term "HOV" first showed up on DC-area roadways around December 1982 when I-66 inside the Beltway first opened and had an HOV-4 restriction, everybody was saying "what the heck is 'HOV'?" Previously, the signs on I-395 had said "Buses and 4-Rider Pool Cars." (Yes, "Pool Cars." I wonder where VDOT came up with that one.) I'm sure there are people from other countries, or from rural areas in the USA, who come here and who have no idea what "HOV-3" means. But that's why it's up to the cop to use reasonable discretion in deciding whether to give a ticket.


"My HOV pet peeve is people jumping into the HOV lanes too soon and causing massive merge backups at the end of the HOV lanes before those who obey the lanes get beyond the merge point."

I hate the people who park on the shoulder of I-395 in the afternoons near the Pentagon and who then bomb out into traffic kamikaze-style without looking shortly before 6 PM. Extremely dangerous. Just go sit in the Pentagon car park until 5:58 or 5:59 and go up the ramp then.

BTW, the backup in the express lanes at the Pentagon in the morning, if you're referring to the 14th Street Bridge, happens because there is no HOV restriction on the bridge itself. The restriction used to apply all the way to where the lanes end in DC, but it was repealed back in the early 1990s during a bridge construction project and it's never been reinstated.

Posted by: 1995hoo | July 22, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

@jculfsr

"Is anyone at The Washington Post monitoring these comments before they are posted? I find the level of incivility, rudeness and profanity of many of the comments, not to mention some of their sheer stupidity, to be unbelievable.'

Like radio and TV, you can tune out if you don't like it.

Trust me, you won't be missed. We've already got more than our share of holier-than-thou, self-appointed paragons of (what THEY think is) law-biding, rule-following civility.

Posted by: ceefer66 | July 22, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday's events, which I witnessed while traveling southbound, was a superb illustration of an agregious misuse of taxpayer dollars. The "law-breakers" that were ticketed yesterday were trying to get to a job to pay bills and put food on the table. Oh, by the way, they are also the taxpayers that paid for the lanes they can't use just b/c they don't drive a prius. The governor should put a stop to this practice and get our law enforcement back to protecting, not harassing us. I voted for the gov in hopes that he could come up with a real money-making plan for the State, not just the same old Dem way of stealing money from hard working tax-paying citizens.

Posted by: slaver | July 22, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Don't get me wrong, police serve a purpose for our society. Running speedtraps and HOV violations is not one of them. If the state police and Ffx County spent 1/2 the amount of time catching criminals we would be in great shape. Unfortunately, most of the punks they hire now are rude ex-marines with an attitude problem.

Posted by: hotnbothered21 | July 22, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

ceefer66--You're somewhat dense, aren't you? The purpose of the HOV lanes is to encourage carpooling, hence reducing the total number of cars on the road. And speaking of holier-than-thou ideology, what entitles HOV violators to think they are such "privileged characters" that the law doesn't apply to them? All while there are thousands of other single-occupant vehicles that do obey the laws... Your logic is flawed. You said it: "While we're on this, consider what motivates people to violate HOV rules - awful congestion." Exactly. If more people carpooled, there would be fewer cars on the road. Which brings us back to the reason the HOV lanes exist in the first place. Pretty simple!

Considering the state of VA is too cowardly to raise taxes to support the crumbling infrastructure, the police are simply enforcing the law, and yes, raising much-needed revenue for the state. Lastly, would you rather have police stopping every vehicle to find the hidden cache of drugs and weapons? There is no way for the police to know which cars are transporting said weapons and drugs until they are pulled over! Last time I checked, x-ray vision wasn't one of the tools in the State Police's assortment of technology...

Posted by: BUPERC | July 22, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

...just a quick correction to my note... I meant to say egregious, sorry for any of those Webster Dictionary followers that might be reading this.

Posted by: slaver | July 22, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I love that they nab HOV violators. One of my big gripes with this area is the sense of entitlement drivers have. The "me first" attitude.

What I DON'T understand is WHY do the people in the NON-HOV lanes feel it's necessary to slow down to LOOK at the cops issuing tickets to the violators!? It happens EVERY morning coming up I95 at Springfield.

Posted by: CLJ11 | July 22, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

BUPERC,

Thank you so much for making my point re: self-serving sanctity. And for reminding me what people like you can do with your sentiments.

Again, thanks.

Posted by: ceefer66 | July 22, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Looking at all of the numbers it looks like they pulled over about 1,000 people. Of those, 1% didn't have a license and an additional 2.5% had an invalid license. Yikes.

Posted by: paul5301 | July 22, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

MONEY GRAB!

Posted by: 4thFloor | July 22, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand the selective enforcement of the laws that some here are advocating. Very odd that you would support the police doing part of their jobs but not all. (Never the part that would impact you, of course.) Also, as someone pointed out, the State Troopers are not charged with stopping crime in Fairfax and Arlington countie. So rest assured that while the Staties are busy ticketing HOV violators, your local cops are still doing their regular duties.

Posted by: conchfc | July 22, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

@CLJ11 it's called "rubber-necking" which is one of our Constitutional rights.

Posted by: alligator10 | July 22, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that there are two issues that are NOT the same and that some people are attempting to conflate them in a misleading way:

(1) Should there be HOV lanes?

(2) Regardless of your answer to #1, if we assume for discussion's sake that there are to be HOV lanes (a fair assumption, since there indeed are HOV lanes), should the HOV restriction be enforced?

A lot of the objections in this thread go only to question #1. But those objections are really irrelevant. You can scream until you're blue in the face about how you don't like HOV lanes, or that HOV lanes are somehow unfair, or whatever, but all you're doing is making unnecessary noise because the simple fact of the matter is that HOV lanes DO in fact exist on a number of roads in the DC area. (The ones that I can think of: I-95/I-395, I-66, the Dulles Toll Road, I-270, US-50 in Maryland, US-1 through Old Town, and Washington Street through Old Town. Am I forgetting any?)

It's certainly a legitimate topic for debate elsewhere whether HOV lanes are effective and whether they ought to be retained. But the issue raised by the blog post to which this thread responds has to do with enforcement of existing HOV restrictions. Other than the people from outside the DC area who may be unfamiliar with the law, I don't have much sympathy for people who knew the rules, violated them, and got caught, regardless of your opinion on HOV. Put differently, I think the 50-mph speed limit on the Fairfax County Parkway is unreasonably low, but I'm not stupid enough to think that my objection to that speed limit entitles me not to be ticketed if a cop catches me going 65, or that a judge would throw out the ticket as "unjust" or rule that the cop should have been out enforcing the criminal laws and so should not have issued a speeding ticket.

I genuinely do not understand why people seem to think they have any ground to object to the HOV law being enforced, given that these laws have been in place for many years (over 30 years in the case of Shirley Highway) and given that anyone who lives in the DC area and is familiar with our highway signage has ample notice of the restrictions.

Posted by: 1995hoo | July 22, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, 1995hoo.

Posted by: ceebee2 | July 22, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

All this "waste of time and resources" talk aside, it appears that around 5% of those driving in the HOV lane have a driver's license that is revoked, invalid, or non-existent. This is a serious violation, and this kind of effort is worth it just to see those people nailed.

The whole point of this exercise is not about revenue generation or trampling on the rights of innocent drivers. The point is that HOV violators by definition demonstrate an inherent disregard for traffic laws and other vehicles on the road. This is the most dangerous type of driver out there.

Around 14% had equipment or inspection violations, another indication of disregard for safety. Civic rights go hand in hand with responsibility. Congratulations to VA and MD law enforcement for targeting these individuals.

Posted by: mwashington2 | July 22, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

1995hoo wrote: "I genuinely do not understand why people seem to think they have any ground to object to the HOV law being enforced, given that these laws have been in place for many years (over 30 years in the case of Shirley Highway) and given that anyone who lives in the DC area and is familiar with our highway signage has ample notice of the restrictions."

Because some of us are sick and tired of the millions of nuisance laws being enforced by the wealth protecting jack booted thugs known as The Police. To see them do anything besides hunt down violent criminals is offensive to many here. And to see so many of them devoted to this task - arresting taxpayers commuting to and from work - while there are 5-10 murders every day, it's disgusting.

Posted by: Trout1 | July 22, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Let's see, over $100,000 additonal revenue for a days work.... not bad. Good ol' HOV awareness day.

Our first HOV Awareness Day in the Capitol region was well received by many Northern Virginians and Marylanders who are fed up with the blatant abuse of HOV lanes," said Capt. Tracy Russillo
- only by lemmings like "1995hoo" up there. This is oppression and taxation, pure and simple, in a time when gov. agencies are having a harder time overspending due to the economic meltdown... meanwhile everyone suffers.


"Disregard for HOV lane regulations will not be tolerated in either state. This multi-agency initiative is strictly about keeping traffic moving safely through the Capitol region for everyone's benefit," Capt. Tracy Russillo said.
- thanks Tracy... we all feel so much safer with the HOV restrictions. SAFETY: that's what it's about. Or is it maybe the need to financially support your bloated traffic over-regulating industry. Anyone seen the size of the Fairfax courthouse lately? http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/opa/galleries/courthouse/court1.htm

Do we really need these people? Think about it!

Maybe about 10 of these folks earned a ticket... the 10 drivers without licenses. That's about the only safety issue I can see.


Posted by: the_oppressed | July 22, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Yes - lemmings - good descriptive word.

Posted by: Trout1 | July 22, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

"Because some of us are sick and tired of the millions of nuisance laws being enforced by the wealth protecting jack booted thugs known as The Police. To see them do anything besides hunt down violent criminals is offensive to many here. And to see so many of them devoted to this task - arresting taxpayers commuting to and from work - while there are 5-10 murders every day, it's disgusting."

Then shouldn't you instead be advocating to your delegate and senator in Richmond to have the HOV laws removed on these roads? It seems to me that if the law is in place, and someone breaks the law, that person has no legitimate standing to complain about the ticket, no matter how odious the law may be. (I seldom use HOV lanes during HOV hours, BTW, so I don't have a dog in this fight.) If you don't like the HOV law being enforced, then maybe you ought to try to get the HOV law changed.

Incidentally, who was "arrested" in the HOV crackdown? I haven't heard any reports of "arrests" being made, unless you consider the simple issuance of a ticket as being the same as an "arrest."


"This is oppression and taxation, pure and simple ...."

How so? They PUBLICIZED the HOV crackdown in advance. Someone on this very blog questioned why they'd do that, but either way, you'd have to be an absolute MORON to violate HOV on a day that's been announced as a day with increased enforcement! "Oppression and taxation"? Seems more like "Darwin in action."

Posted by: 1995hoo | July 22, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Ha! Someone said the governor should put a stop to this. Our current governor wants HOT lanes....you know, where you pay money to drive on a road that.....you guess it....you ALREADY pay for.

Yeah, a person struggling to make the bills needs to get to work, but can't because he's not one of the rich schlubs in this area that can afford the $10 toll to drive in that previous money-making lane.

STUPID! MONEY-GRUBBING Bungholios!

That road was paid for by your tax money. Because you can't afford one of these BIG ONEY Hybrids, YOU can't use the road. Fair? Not only NO, but heck NO!

Vote OUT these politicians that keep trying to grab all the freaking money they can through land use, road use, ANYTHING-WHICH-YOU-CAN-USE use. Politicians are worthless. Police are even more so. Good tax collectors. I'm sure that's why you got the job. To ticket someone trying to get to work and pay their bills. Go eff yourselves, stupid cops.

Posted by: stinkyliberals | July 22, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

ceefer---

Can you name one circumstance where adding road capacity didn't induce yet more traffic?

(hint, the answer is: no)

Given that, do you think it is sustainable to continue to build roads to accommodate single occupancy vehicles when there are other options that make the movement of people more efficient?

One other thing, go back to the records regarding the agreement between Arlington County and the US Department of Transportation regarding the construction of what is now known as Interstate 66 inside the beltway. Ooops, yes a permanent agreement for the lanes to be HOV during peak periods.

Posted by: LukasWP | July 22, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

The HOT lanes on the Beltway are new lanes, so I don't think the argument by "stinkyliberals" works as to them. (BTW, hybrids won't get the HOT exemption.) Converting existing lanes to HOT is problematic, but I don't see that it's a problem to impose new conditions of use on new construction.

Posted by: 1995hoo | July 22, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Why are they doing this and not going after violent criminals? Because Crime does not pay; fines do.

Posted by: WashingtonTimesisBetter | July 22, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

ceefer66 wrote:

I do, however, have a problem with the reservation of lanes - and an entire road in the case of I-66 - that ALL of us pay for the use of a few who find it convenient to follow rules set aside for a relative few "privileged characters".

*****************************************

That's a tired old argument that just doesn't hold water. Its like saying, "anyone should be allowed to travel on Air Force One, or any other military aircraft, because we all pay for it."

HOV lanes reduce congestion. For every car with three commuters in it, there are two cars that are not on the road. Cruise through the HOV parking lots in Prince William County on any weekday and count the thousands of cars there. Those are all vehicles that otherwise would be driving into DC or the Pentagon on I-95/395 every day.

As for I-66, look how congested the three non-HOV lanes outside the beltway are during morning rush hour versus the HOV lane. Those are all cars that would turn I-66 into gridlock if they were permitted to continue inside the beltway where there are only two lanes.

Thanks for the HOV enforcement, State Police. Those of us who respect the law appreciate your work.

Posted by: hisroc | July 22, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

So the only legitimate function of the police is to "hunt down violent criminals?" I think those who believe the police should be checking immigration status would disagree. As for people who are "just trying to get to work," so are we, the law-abiding HOV users. Police enforce the law, legislators make laws, citizens elect legislators. Vote your principles.

Posted by: conchfc | July 22, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Get rid of the HOV lanes and that'll fix everything? Hardly. HOV lanes reduce congestion. I do agree that VA's hybrid exemption long ago stopped making sense.

I appreciate the irony of some people who blast anyone who thinks that traffic violations should be punished, as "holier than thou." Especially coming from soemone who routinely posts comments in the Post that speed cameras and any enforcement of speed limits is an infringement of their God-given right to break laws they find inconvenient.

Posted by: krickey7 | July 22, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Freely admitting that I am putting together two political views that often, but not always go together, I have a feeling that the same crowd who feel the illegal immigrants should be deported only because that in and of itself constitutes breaking the law, are many of the same folks who see speed cameras and HOV enforcement as "taxes", rather than enforcement of existing laws. You can't have it both ways, folks.
As 95hoo said (and I hate agreeing with a UVA person :) ), they publicized it days ahead of time. If you were ignorant, you have only yourself to blame. Moreover, the haul in tickets alone was approx. $100k-150k - that's almost as much as the daily revenues on the Dulles Toll Road. Maybe we could placate some folks and not raise taxes if we just set aside a group of folks to enforce HOV rules every day.

Posted by: vtavgjoe | July 22, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Whoever said earlier that there are 5-10 murders a day being ignored in favor of HOV enforcement, please note that there were 14 homicides in Fairfax County in 2009 and 2 in Arlington County for 2009.

And vtavgjoe -- Amen, brother. "I have a feeling that the same crowd who feel the illegal immigrants should be deported only because that in and of itself constitutes breaking the law, are many of the same folks who see speed cameras and HOV enforcement as "taxes", rather than enforcement of existing laws. You can't have it both ways, folks."

Posted by: conchfc | July 22, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

@hisroc

"That's a tired old argument that just doesn't hold water. Its like saying, "anyone should be allowed to travel on Air Force One, or any other military aircraft, because we all pay for it."

Excuse me if I mislabel this silliness. It's been a while since high school debating. I can't remember if you're attempting a to use strawman or a red herring. I know it's one or the other. And either way, it's silly.

In any event, you guys are getting desperate

Posted by: ceefer66 | July 22, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

My understanding about VA's hybrid exemption is that the number of "Clean Fuel" plates issued was being capped several years ago. If that is correct, then all of the 'Johnny-come-lately' hybrid owners may be helping the environment but not crowding the HOV lanes unless they have 3 passengers as well. Having a hybrid alone doesn't qualify for the HOV lanes...only the Clean Fuel plate.

Posted by: HigherEducationAdvocate | July 22, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

"Can you name one circumstance where adding road capacity didn't induce yet more traffic?

(hint, the answer is: no)"

The old "induced usage" arguments: "We must not build roads because people might actually use them".

And you threw in a little blurb "sustainability" for good measure. How cute.

They also thought roads and driving were "unsustainable" in the early 1970's. That's so many "smart", "educated" people in this region jumped on the "transit makes roads unnecessary" bandwagon. So much for that.

Answer this: Why is "induced usage" a bad thing when we're talking roads but the desired effect when we're talking rail?

You people are real good at talking out of both sides of your mouths. That's why you're so ridiculous.

Posted by: ceefer66 | July 22, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Actually, that is pretty easy.

Induced demand for transit means you have one vehicle transporting 10-500 people. That is entirely more energy efficient than one vehicle for one person.

I would further submit that the induced demand is partially predicated on the exurban sprawl, which eats up farm land, and creates a built environment where people are forced to drive, and drive on roads that do not have a conducive grid network to make traffic flow smoothly.

Generally speaking, development around rail is compact and walkable, meaning many more people can live comfortable lives, are able to walk to retail amenities and have a transportation alternative to the single occupancy vehicle.

Finally, if we submit to your world view, would you be willing to pay for it without the fuel, pollution, land-use and highway/road subsidies?

Posted by: LukasWP | July 22, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

One of the comments says that this operation grossed roughly $100K. However, it is not known how much the operation cost in officer salaries or other costs. I'm guessing that the total costs were above the amount collected, which would make this operation another waste of government money. States should probably be more aware of costs given the state of economies across the country.

Posted by: richyancy | July 22, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Single drivers will soon be able to use the HOV lanes once the HOT lanes are implemented. I for one will certainly use them, regardless of the cost, since I'll be reimbursed.

Single drivers will be then among the privileged, whizzing past those who pat themselves on the back for "obeying the law" and look down on those they disagree with.

And the government will get its revenue. Looks like a win-win to me.

It will be interesting to see the looks on the faces of the smug once the HOT lanes become popular and the gov't, ever greedy for revenue, builds even more of them. Who knows? It might even cause expansion of the "regular" lanes.

Good old "induced usage" Gotta love it.

Posted by: ceefer66 | July 22, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Finally, if we submit to your world view, would you be willing to pay for it without the fuel, pollution, land-use and highway/road subsidies?

Posted by: LukasWP
_______________

Now we've got the old "driving is subsidized" lie!

I'm not even going to touch this one. It's 8th grade civics. Plus, you really don't want to go there when transit users pay an average of only 20% (30% for our Metro) of the cost of their ride.

Like I said, desperate. Which agenda-based website did you get that from?

While we're doing this, FYI, "walkable" and "transit oriented" don't necessarily mean "better".

SE DC is "walkable" and "transit oriented" So is the South Bronx.

You want to talk about quality of life? Compare any quality of life factor - property values, crime, life expectancy, amenities, school achievement, whatever - of the areas of NE DC that were "saved" by the canceling of I-95 through DC and "blessed" with the Metro Red Line with the areas of North Arlington that were "destroyed" by I-66. Where would YOU prefer to live?

I rest my case.

Another car/road hater sliced, seasoned, skewered and grilled. Quite Easily Done.

Have a happy landing.

Posted by: ceefer66 | July 22, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I don't have a problem with lanes that charge single riders while letting HOV pass freely. It's a market-based solution that will achieve the same goals, largely. One must also recognize that it charges drives the cost of using the road; in essence, settling the point of whether users of other, non-HOT roads are subsidized. They are.

Posted by: krickey7 | July 22, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Ceefer, you are REALLY on this HOV enforcement thing! Me thinkst you doest protest to much. Perhaps a few tixs and some points in your past, huh?

Anyhow, why not enforce it like this? When the rest of us sit and idle, its a little upsetting to see the rule breakers (or shall I call them "those to whom the rules don't apply") act with impunity, particularly in MD. As for the Cops, I say go get'em officers! As for the legislature in MD, I say raise the fines for crying out loud!

Posted by: lovinliberty | July 22, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Awesome. I just wish they were actually pulling people on 66 that are in traffic, rather than the one on-ramp they always patrol. The HOV lane of 267 regularly gets abused as well, although the worst culprits there are commercial trucks, which don't belong there no matter how many guys they have packed in that cab.

Posted by: BurtReynolds | July 22, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

I am so happy to see them enforcing the HOV rules. The last time I had to drive north on 270 during rush hour (by myself), I counted the cars in the HOV lane as they passed me. Of 20 cars I counted, two clearly had more than one person in them, one had something in the front passenger seat -- a child? dog? bag of groceries? -- and the other 17 had only one person. They need to be doing a lot more of this.

Posted by: saturdayschild | July 22, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Like shooting fish in a barrel. Easy revenue and it keeps the HOV less congested for those obeying the rules.

The police should be doing this once a week.

Posted by: slydell | July 22, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

"BurtReynolds," one reason they enforce I-66 the way they do is the Dulles Airport exemption. The feds imposed a rule that anyone going to or from Dulles Airport is exempt from the HOV rule. That's one reason why they do not pull people over in traffic or at the offramps (in the morning) or the onramps (in the afternoon). Instead, in the mornings they nail people entering I-66 at any entrance other than the one from the Dulles Access Road, and in the afternoons they nail people exiting anywhere other than onto the Dulles Access Road (for traffic using the exit for the Dulles Access Road Extension, this means the cops station themselves at the split between the Access Road and the lanes that become the toll road and they nail single-occupant vehicles that don't go into the airport lanes).

Is it a perfect system? Of course not. There are still people who go out to the airport and make a U-turn. There are also people who stop at the airport to buy gas so as to have a legitimate reason for using the Access Road. (Note that this is perfectly legal. It may violate the SPIRIT of the rules, but it's perfectly legitimate.) But no system is perfect and you can never catch everyone.

Posted by: 1995hoo | July 22, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

I never made the argument that transit wasn't subsidized. However, you are not factoring the full cost of the privilege of driving a single occupancy vehicle; either the cost to build and maintain roads, the cost on the environment, the cost of health issues related to auto-dependence and health issues related to auto-emissions, and I am not even considering the cost of the Gulf Ward or the Iraq war, or the various subsidies and foreign policy payments the US makes to various oil producing countries around the world.

Weigh the true costs of mass transit versus oil and the single occupancy vehicles and it won't be close.

You can cite the issues about quality of life in exurbia, but it simply isn't sustainable, economically or environmentally.

Enjoy your lifestyle when gas is an unsubsidized $10+, and see how much you want to rack up the miles then.

Posted by: LukasWP | July 22, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

This article makes no mention of how many vehicles passed through the HOV enforcement areas. Without a frame of reference, it is difficult to gauge the success of this event. Is 713 HOV violations "a lot?" What was the breakdown between Maryland and Virginia for the various infractions? As presented above, these statistics have little meaning.

Also, where is all this fine money GOING?

Posted by: mrb1onde | July 22, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

$138,456.00 is what the fees with the court fee comes to in VA. Ridiculous!!! Do you know you can't even get a warning on this violation. 66 is the only darn highway in the nation that is completely HOV during posted hours. They need to do a better job posting it. Because coming from 267 on to 66 the signs are so messed up you can barely read them. I got caught a few months ago driving on it not knowing that it was entirely HOV (I live near the PA line in MD, unfamiliar with the area) And got a $125 ticket with a $62 court fee. I went to court and they could not and would not do anything to reduce it. How is someone from out of town supposed to know a entire, poorly signed highway is HOV. All because one city in VA has been pushing for years to make 66 completely HOV (straight from the judges mouth when I went to court). Its bs, yeah if a local is abusing it fine but really someone that lives about 2 hours away.

Posted by: SSadlermom | July 22, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Well, no one mentioned the havoc it created on the mainline traffic, as well as backing up the HOV for a mile, or more on this exercise. The HOV lanes are a joke anyway. They are under utilized during the limited peak hours assigned to them and used to relieve the traffic pressure on the mainline outside those hours....and that is much more effective, and beneficial, for travelers/commuters than limiting HOV traffic to people with 2, or 3 people in a car. The original purpose was to help save gas during a so-called "gas shortage" by getting people to share rides, increase bus/van usage, and therefore reduce the number of vehicles on the road. We see how well that works, and yet VDOT DCDOT, MDOT (or whatever they call themselves) and the Federal Govt still has their head in a dark place and can't see that the real solution to moving traffic in this area is to have more lanes for the increased traffic load. Lots more people now....you will never get the majority of people to give up their cars for something as stupid as "saving gas". If people can afford the gas, they'll buy it. And, when supplies are ultimately beginning to dwindle, automobile manufacturers will then be motivated to find a new energy source for their vehicles and market them aggressively. But, until that day, they have no motivation to spend billions of dollars on R&D, prototypes, and such. AND, when you encourage hundreds of thousands of people to move into an area, knowing that every household will have two, or more automobiles, you should be prepared to build more highways.

Posted by: sonnybell1 | July 22, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I think encouraging hybrids and electric vehicles is critical to the health of our area. Hybrids have virtually no emissions, and use a fraction of the gasoline that regular cars do. All this week is an unhealthy air week. What makes it unhealthy, as we don't have any heavy industry here? Vehicles spewing dirty emissions, that's what.

I think hybrids absolutely should go free on the HOT lanes and have a continued pass on the HOV lanes. In fact, I favor phasing in letting only hybrids and other clean fuel vehicles use the HOT lanes - and even eventually the HOV lanes. Otherwise we're all going to die of lung cancer, asthma, and other really bad diseases -- sooner rather than later.

Posted by: AdventurerVA | July 22, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Nothing like making the traffic snarl even more of a mess than have john law pulling over people in rush hour. And I agree with what someone said above....this is more important than crime fighting. I've never liked HOV. My taxes help pay for something I can't use. BS.

It's too bad the county planners around the DC area didn't have the foresite to put into place a real mass transit system and there wouldn't be a need for HOVs.

Posted by: boutaswell | July 22, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

In Contra Costa County, CA (at least the part where I live), the posted/official cost of an HOV violation was stated at "Minimum $247.00." It is now stated at "Minimum $387.00." I've never been cited, but have read newspaper articles that state that these "minimums" are not quite accurate. To get close to what is truly accurate after additional surcharges, court costs (whether you go to court or not) and a number of other fees or whatever, the true costs are DOUBLE what is stated on the signs for FIRST-TIME offenders...so we're looking at $700.00+ for a first-time HOV violation if that's all you're charged with. Nothing like having the penalty fit the "crime," huh? Ludicrous...

Posted by: eastbayer | July 23, 2010 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Love that the "entitled" got tickets.

Just curious as to why the headline of "Sting" -- there was no deception at all here ... and, in fact, I beleive there were some warnings about the "crackdown" ... definition:
A sting operation is a deceptive operation designed to catch a person committing a crime. A typical sting will have a law-enforcement officer or cooperative member of the public play a role as criminal partner or potential victim and go along with a suspect's actions to gather evidence of the suspect's wrongdoing.

Posted by: FutureTense | July 23, 2010 12:49 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: briansusan | July 23, 2010 4:22 AM | Report abuse

>>It's too bad the county planners around the DC area didn't have the foresite to put into place a real mass transit system and there wouldn't be a need for HOVs.
-----

its never about foresight, its about lack of money in the suburbs and lack of density in the city due to the building height restrictions. nyc has a beter transporation system because the city has a higher density of people ie isn't just rowhouses.

Posted by: slydell | July 23, 2010 4:53 AM | Report abuse

I was one of the unfortunates caught in the net on Wednesday as I was going to meet my accountant in Vienna from my office in DC on 66 WEST.

I live in Charlottesville and just started working in DC in Feb so normally do not drive in this area. During the week I rent a room in DC and take the metro and only drive home on weekends, so did not know about all of 66 being dedicated to HOV use from 4 - 6. So I was very surprised when I was pulled over with all the other cars. The officer explained it to me, and I told him I did not know. I told him I had never seen any signs to that effect.
He said "Well, you're getting a ticket" and walked away.

I sat and sat in the car for about 15 minutes watching more and more cars being pulled over as he leaned against a police car which was to my right, even further off the road, talking with another officer while I waited. Finally I got out of the car to go over to ask him if he would please reconsider and tell him I could show him proof that I had just started working in the area and he would not let me talk and said "GET BACK IN THE CAR, MAAM." I repeated that I just wanted to say something.. and he said "Get back in the car or I will arrest you and take you to jail." I said "Arrest me? for what? I am just staanding here." At that point he got up from the car and came over to me and got in my face and said in a very loud sarcastic tone "WHAT PART OF GET BACK IN THE CAR DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND ?"

I was so shocked at his demeanor I just stood there for a second and then asked him if he had been bullied by kids in school when he was little, at which point he and the officer pounced on me, shoved me into the car hood, twisted my arms and shoulders all around and put me in handcuffs and said I was under arrest and I was going to jail.

He then had my car towed, had me sit in his car for an hour and a half while he did paperwork, and then took me to Fairfax County Detention Center where the officers asked him how the HOV sweep went. My arresting officer replied "We slaughtered 'em."

They then asked him "what's she in for?" He said "She couldn't keep her mouth shut."

I was finally released on my own recognizance by the magistrate after being issued a warrant for "obstruction of justice" and a violation of the HOV law and a violation for being a pedestrian on the highway. At 7pm the officer put me out on the street on foot with my wallet and a dead cell phone. I had no idea where I was and no way to get to my car at the wreckers, who has a VERY lucrative contract with the county to tow all the cars for them, and charged me $248 when I did finally get there for what I imagine was about a 30 minute job.


I would welcome constructive feedback on this situation if you can help. klcasagrande@gmail.com

Posted by: klcasagrande | July 23, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

I am a law abiding citizen just trying to get to work and who would never use the HOV lane without the appropriate number of people in my car.

I grew up in Southern California - I think we invented the HOV lane.

However, I moved from Maryland in 2006 to Charlottesville and recently started working in DC.

I NEVER heard about the ENTIRE ROAD being dedicated to HOV rules from 4 - 6:30 until I was pulled over on Wednesday. I asked the police officer when did this happen and he said "about 1960."

HOW WOULD I KNOW THIS ?????? I HAVE NEVER SEEN A SIGN.

HATS off to Virginia for a brilliant money-making scam. Make a rule and then dont tell anybody about it so then when they break it you can fine them, whether they knew about it or not.

Guaranteed to have a huge crowd of rule breakers that way.

Posted by: klcasagrande | July 23, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I am a law abiding citizen just trying to get to work and who would never use the HOV lane without the appropriate number of people in my car.

I grew up in Southern California - I think we invented the HOV lane.

However, I moved from Maryland in 2006 to Charlottesville and recently started working in DC.

I NEVER heard about the ENTIRE ROAD being dedicated to HOV rules from 4 - 6:30 until I was pulled over on Wednesday. I asked the police officer when did this happen and he said "about 1960."

HOW WOULD I KNOW THIS ?????? I HAVE NEVER SEEN A SIGN.

HATS off to Virginia for a brilliant money-making scam.


1) MAKE A LAW.
2) DONT LET ANYONE KNOW.
3) NAIL ALL THOSE BAD RULE-BREAKERS.
4) COUNT YOUR MONEY.

Posted by: klcasagrande | July 23, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

About $100K for one day's work -- pretty nice! Now, can Virginia do that every day and use the money to fix the roads?

Posted by: mucus99 | July 23, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

".... [T]he real solution to moving traffic in this area is to have more lanes for the increased traffic load. ..."

This sounds fine in theory, but in practice you run into problems because of capacity-limiting aspects of road design. For example, consider Virginia, because that's where the most-publicized HOV lanes in the DC area are. The main commuter routes in Virginia funnel down to seven chokepoints--the bridges across the Potomac. Practically speaking, it's impossible to keep widening the bridges even if you widen the roads, unless you were to double-deck the bridges like the Verrazano in New York. But then you have a problem due to the ramps and such that would be needed. (Consider, for example, that for the 14th Street Bridge such ramps would butt right up against the Jefferson Memorial.) If you can't widen the bridge but you widen the road, you run into a massive chokepoint where the road narrows down to feed the bridge, which is essentially what happens now at the inbound 14th Street Bridge. It also used to happen with the old Wilson Bridge. Some people are protesting the HOT lane project on the Beltway under the theory that a similar chokepoint may be created at their northern end where the Beltway will narrow back down to cross the (unwidened) Cabin John Bridge. Adding more general-purpose lanes only goes so far in terms of traffic relief. While it might seem to spread out the traffic, to a very real degree what it often does is to shift the chokepoint to somewhere else. (I said "often." It doesn't always do this. A well-planned widening, say between two heavily-used interchanges, can certainly alleviate backups.)


"Personally, I think encouraging hybrids and electric vehicles is critical to the health of our area. Hybrids have virtually no emissions, and use a fraction of the gasoline that regular cars do. ..."

This isn't true in highway driving. The benefit of a hybrid is in stop-and-go city driving where the engine shuts off at red lights (i.e., no emissions); also, some (not all) hybrids can run solely on electric power at low speeds, which further reduces emissions because the hybrids generate their own electricity through regenerative braking. But out on the highway a hybrid's emissions aren't really any lower than a regular car. They may still get better fuel economy due to the electric motor kicking in to augment the gas engine, but the stuff about "no emissions" and "a fraction of the gasoline" is utter bollocks out on the highway. It's also misleading to refer to "hybrids" as a general class anyway. Some of the larger hybrids are certainly more fuel-efficient than their gas equivalents (the Lexus LS hybrid, for example) but are still relatively fuel-inefficient on the whole.

Posted by: 1995hoo | July 23, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

klcasagrande - There are large electronic signs and smaller road signs at EVERY entrance onto 66 stating the road is HOV-2 during those particular hours.

Posted by: nire | July 23, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

nire: that may be true, I do not know.

I get on 66 west from 395 soutrh near the Pentagon and I almost always nearly miss it because it is all of a sudden there.

I do not see or notice any sign there about HOV. I barely see the 66 exit sign.

Posted by: klcasagrande | July 23, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

There is no exit from I-395 to I-66. There is a sign that says "TO I-66." It directs you to use VA-110 north towards Rosslyn. (I agree that the exit comes up very suddenly in an area where people are changing lanes every which way. It's not a good place for someone new to the DC area to be driving at rush hour.) Because there is no direct exit from I-395 onto an HOV-restricted road, there are no signs on I-395 warning of a restriction.

After you pass Arlington Cemetery on the left, VA-110 narrows, curves slightly, goes under an underpass, and then splits with the left lane going to Wilson Boulevard and the right lane going to I-66. There are a series of black-and-white signs warning of the HOV-2 restriction on I-66, and the overhead Big Green Sign for I-66 contains a variable message board that advises that the road is HOV-2 only from 4 PM to 6:30 PM (except Dulles Airport traffic). The white signs also advise that non-HOV's not going to the airport can get onto the highway but must exit at the very first exit (US-29 at Rosslyn).

Posted by: 1995hoo | July 23, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

"would welcome constructive feedback on this situation if you can help. klcasagrande@gmail.com"

Welcome to Northern Virginia.

The very same thing happened to me in 1988 - the day I interviewed for the job that brought me here from New Jersey. I was confused about the HOV rules, couldn't understand why I couldn't get a "non-resident" pass, and freely expressed my disdain for HOV and way I was being treated. Long story short, the judge threw out the arrest, fined me $150, and gave the officer a dressing-down for his heavy-handed tactics.

Your story, along with what happened to me, is why I have contempt not only for HOV, but also for the way the law is enforced. And don't get me started on speed cameras.

It's all about the money - and abuse of power. And it won't stop until we vote out the officials who allow it.

Posted by: ceefer66 | July 25, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Ceefer66

Thank you very much for your comments.
They are the first encouraging words I have heard since this happened. I have stopped driving my car in Northern VA and now only take the train. Won't be stopping to do business in Northern Virginia anymore. I am taking Amtrak between Charlottesville and DC, and the Red line to and from work once in DC.


When you think you are doing everything right and then still end up being subjected to treatment like that, it is very scary. Is this really America?

I just hope one of the police car cameras was running so it was caught on film and the judge can see how two 6 ft something police men jumped a woman who was just standing still doing nothing, slammed her into a car hood, flattened her out and twisted her arms around behind her to put handcuffs on. All because I wanted to say something (which I never got to say).

Meanwhile we have rapists running around stabbing and raping young girls in Fairfax while the officers are busy with "hard core criminals" like me trying to go to meet my accountant to do my son's taxes.

I hope I get a judge as reasonable as the one you had, however, I suspect that they will have heard about 7111 others tell their story by the time I get to them, and probably most will say they did not know, whether they did or didn't, and it will fall on deaf and unsympathetic ears.

Did you get a lawyer or represent yourself? If you did, you have a lawyer to recommend?

Posted by: klcasagrande | July 28, 2010 7:20 AM | Report abuse

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