How many HOV-lane cheaters are there, and how many get caught?

It sure seems like there are a lot of cheaters in HOV lanes, slowing down those lanes for carpoolers and enraging solo drivers who follow the rules. How common are HOV violations and how does the State Patrol enforce them?

You’re sitting there. It’s bumper to bumper. Barely moving. Miserable.

Glance out the window. One lane over is an open lane of free-flowing traffic. An asphalt Xanadu.

But it’s HOV. And you’re all alone. And you’re a good citizen. So you sit.

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But it sure looks like some of your fellow drivers are a lot less civically conscious — an awful lot of those HOV-lane cars don’t have the minimum passenger requirements. So you stew.

“Whenever I’m on the highway, there are a lot of cars using the HOV lane and it seems impossible they all have that many passengers,” wrote Michael Jacobson, of Ravenna. “How do State Patrol troopers monitor and enforce Highway 520’s HOV lane requirement?”

Jim S., of Seattle, wrote that on the Eastside, where 520’s HOV lanes require a three-person carpool, he thinks there are three times as many “buttheads zooming by one-to-a-car” as there are legitimate carpoolers. “Why don’t they enforce this anymore?” Jim asked. “What gives?”

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