We have all seen that lane while traveling on Interstate 15 during rush hour and wish we were in it. While the multiple lanes to the right are backed up, that empty lane to the left looks so appealing as it seems to be constantly empty with the few cars that use it being able to move at ease at the pace they desire.
Although we want to cross that solid white line and enter it we know it cannot be that easy. We know that for some reason that lane is off-limits.
In this article, we will explain how the carpooling lane works and who is able to actually use it.
All of this information will be derived from the Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) that pertains to the usage and conformance of carpool lanes in Nevada.
In the event you are ever ticketed for wrongfully being in a carpool lane, then you should call or email us at Ticket Busters.
The rules pertaining to these types of lanes can be confusing to many and sometimes even Nevada Highway Patrol officers may make a mistake. Just because you get a ticket does not mean it is a done deal against you.
As a citizen and driver in Nevada, you have the right to push back on the charges and if successful, can at times get the ticket dropped, reduced, or sometimes even thrown out completely. It is always a good idea to fight your ticket because if you are cited with a moving violation (which the carpool lane is) then your insurance will likely increase. Your monthly premium will be more than what it usually is and no one needs that when all other prices continue to go up.
What Nevada Law Says About Carpool Lanes
NRS 484B.323 is the statute we will be analyzing here.
It is titled “Carpool lanes: Use of carpool lanes in conformance with signs; penalty”.
It only contains three subpoints and really just states who can use the lane and what the penalty is for violating the law.
Lastly, it defines what “HOV” is. The first point of this statute reads as follows:
A person shall not operate a vehicle in a lane designated for the use of high-occupancy vehicles except in conformity with the established conditions which are placed and maintained on signs and other official traffic-control devices pursuant to subsection 2 of NRS 484A.460 or established by regulation.
It is your job to know the rules of the carpool lanes where you are driving.
As a baseline, if you are driving solo in your car then most likely you are not allowed to be in these types of lanes. We will discuss this more a little later though as there are some exceptions, but for the most part, you must have someone else in the car with you.
Being in the carpool lane can be very advantageous for people because there are simply fewer cars in that lane which makes traveling and commuting much easier.
Everyone wants to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible and that is especially true during the hot summer months. Being stuck in traffic is bad enough but when temperatures outside exceed one hundred degrees things are even worse.
There have been some stories of drivers in Las Vegas using a blow-up doll in their passenger seat to game the system. Traveling at over sixty-five miles per hour would make it quite difficult for a highway patrolman to really notice if your passenger is a real person or simply blow-up doll. Although we do not recommend taking actions such as this we do realize that it is creative.
Consequences of Violating the Carpool Lane
The second point of this statute references the punishment for not conforming to the carpool lane law:
A person who violates subsection 1 is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined $250 for each offense.
As the statute reads, violating this statute is not a felony but is considered a misdemeanor which would be on your record if you are cited by law enforcement. Aside from having to deal with possible court appearances, traffic school, and the weight of having the legal process on your shoulders for numerous weeks, you will also have a fine of $250.
Although not specifically listed in the NRS, if given a ticket in the city of Las Vegas, the fine is $352.
All of these reasons suggest that you should obtain legal assistance for your traffic ticket in Nevada. The Ticket Busters team has helped a significant amount of people in southern Nevada with all types of traffic tickets. Going through the system on your own is tedious so having an expert in Nevada law work for you is priceless.
What Does High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Mean
The third and last point provides Nevada drivers with the definition of “HOV”:
As used in this section, “high-occupancy vehicle” means:
(a) A vehicle that is transporting more than one person;
(b) A motorcycle, regardless of the number of passengers;
(c) A bus, regardless of the number of passengers; and
As we can see the definitions can be different depending on what type of vehicle is being driven.
A motorcycle fits the definition of high occupancy even if only the driver is on board. The same thing with a bus and it does not even matter how many people are being transported. If the bus is empty after having dropped everyone off at their destination, they still get to drive in the carpool lane.
Lastly, the typical vehicle must have the driver plus at least one passenger to qualify for the “HOV” lane.
You may see that the term “High Occupancy Vehicle” (HOV) and carpool lanes are intertwined. They really signify the same things and were built to decrease commute times for drivers in Nevada by reducing congestion, especially during times of high traffic.
What About HOV 2+
A driver riding along Interstate 15 or other major thoroughfares in the state may also see signage for HOV 2+.
All that really means is that two or more people must be in the car unless your vehicle is one of the other acceptable types as previously mentioned in this article.
Does it Matter if my Vehicle is Electric or Hybrid?
At the time of this writing, it is irrelevant if your car is gasoline-powered, hybrid, or electric in regards to using the HOV lane. The same rules apply regardless of what powers your automobile and that is how many people are in your car.
It’s quite possible that in the future the type of vehicle you are driving may allow you to enter and drive in a high-occupancy vehicle lane.
Are There Specific Times When the HOV Lanes in Las Vegas Are to Be Used?
The high occupancy vehicle lanes were once 24/7, meaning that the rules had to be followed regardless of what time or day it was.
There have been some changes to that rule though so be sure to check the signage. Recent changes now allow for the HOV lane rules to only be adhered to during certain times—from 5 AM to 10 PM.
This allows for these carpool lanes to be most utilized during times of excessive and high traffic which is the entire point of having these lanes to begin with.
The Nevada Department of Transportation conducted a study and determined this to be the most efficient use of the roads but signage and directions may be different on your specific roadway so always know the rules in your jurisdiction.
In Las Vegas, there are more than twenty miles of continuous high occupancy vehicle lanes which can be found on Interstate 95.
Out in the Northwest part of the city, near Centennial, is a large park-and-ride area along with the Elk Horn connector to the highway. This is the end of the HOV lanes which span all the way down to the Spaghetti Bowl which of course is the intersection of U.S. 95 and Interstate 15. Following I-15 southbound, the HOV lanes continue all the way to the large exit ramp for Silverado Ranch Blvd.
Given a Ticket for Violating the Carpool Lane?
If you are ever ticketed for driving in an HOV lane then come by the Ticket Busters office located in Downtown Las Vegas. If easier, you can even call or email us and one of our staff members will set up a strategy meeting with you.
In this consultation, a legal team member will discuss your options to fight the case, what the potential charges and fines will be, and if they feel as if you will need to attend a hearing in court. From there, you can decide if you would prefer to have our team fight the ticket.
We have a long track record of helping the people of Las Vegas and Henderson and when we fight a ticket we oftentimes are able to get it reduced or even thrown out completely.
There are no negatives to having a consultation with us so contact us today regarding any traffic issue you have.