Can I receive a ticket if I violate the law on driving in a high occupancy vehicle lane?

High Occupancy Vehicle Lane Traffic SignYou are only allowed to drive in a high-occupancy vehicle lane (HOV) in Charlotte if you have the required number of occupants in your vehicle. If you drive in an HOV lane when you are not permitted to do so, you could receive a traffic ticket with punishments that include a hefty fine and points on your driver’s license.

What Are the Rules on Using an HOV Lane?

High occupancy vehicle lanes are used to reduce the terrible traffic congestion on N 1-77 and other highways and roads in Mecklenburg county. They are designed to cut down on single-occupancy vehicles and encourage commuting. Some of the benefits of HOV lanes include:

  • They are more cost-efficient.
  • They allow vehicles with more than one occupant faster travel on congested highways.
  • They cut down on ozone pollution.

Only certain vehicles are permitted to drive in HOV lanes, and not all of them must have passengers. These lanes are open to:

  • Vehicles with passengers. Motor vehicles with two or more occupants can use an HOV lane.
  • Motorcycles. For safety reasons, federal law requires that motorcycles be permitted to use HOV lanes.
  • Emergency vehicles. Emergency vehicles, such as ambulances, fire trucks, and law enforcement vehicles—that are responding to an emergency—are allowed to drive in HOV lanes.
  • Public transportation vehicles. Even if only the driver is in a public transportation vehicle, he is permitted to drive in a high occupancy vehicle lane.
  • Privately-owned buses. A privately-owned bus that can carry 15 or more occupants can use an HOV lane regardless of how many people are on the bus.

Use of an HOV lane is prohibited for these vehicles:

  • Trucks having three or more axles
  • Single occupant vehicles
  • Vehicles using an HOV lane to pass

What Are the Penalties for Violating North Carolina’s HOV Law?

If you are pulled over in Charlotte for violating the law on who can use an HOV lane, you could receive a traffic citation. Your punishment can include a $100 fine and two points on your driving record.

You should not just pay the ticket without first considering your options since there are long-term consequences to traffic tickets. The points on your driving and insurance records can result in your auto insurance rates increasing for years after you pay the fine. In addition, your driver’s license could be suspended if you accumulate too many points on your driving record.

Let our skilled legal team identify your defenses and determine the best option for you so that you achieve the best possible outcome. We represent clients in Charlotte and throughout Mecklenburg county. To find out how we can help you, call our Charlotte office today to schedule a free consultation.