A carpool violation is an illegal action in which someone who does not meet the criteria to utilize a carpool lane moves into that lane and uses it while operating a vehicle. Such violations can be cause for a stop and citation by a police officer, usually a local highway patrol officer. This type of violation can add points to a person’s driving record, which can result in further punishment and potential loss of driving privileges. A carpool violation can be caused by a number of different factors, though it most commonly occurs when a driver who is the sole occupant of his or her vehicle uses the carpool lane.
The term carpool violation is related to the carpool lane, sometimes called a high occupancy vehicle (HOV) or diamond lane due to the use of a diamond to indicate the lane in many areas. This lane is usually on the inside of a freeway and is intended for use only by certain vehicles. Most carpool lanes can be used by vehicles with two or more occupants, including the driver, as well as motorcycles and buses. The exact requirements for the use of carpool lanes can vary somewhat, depending on state and local laws, and a carpool violation typically goes against these requirements.
One of the most common causes for a carpool violation is the use of this lane by a car that does not have enough occupants. In most areas, there are no exceptions to this requirement and even momentary use of a carpool lane, such as using the lane to pass other traffic, can be grounds for citation. Depending on the laws in an area, a carpool violation can also occur when a truck that is of excessively high weight uses the lane, as well as the use of the lane by vehicles that are limited to other lanes on a freeway. Many states require that vehicles towing trailers only use the outside lanes of a freeway, and so the use of an inside lane, including the carpool lane, can be a violation of traffic laws.
Citation for a carpool violation typically comes from a law enforcement officer, usually a highway patrol officer in a particular state or region. This type of citation often occurs during the commission of the offense, resulting in the driver being stopped and cited by the officer. A carpool violation is a moving violation in most states, though there may be different levels of severity for such violations. Accidental usage of the carpool lane may only result in a fine, while egregious usage can result in a fine and points on a driver’s record, which may ultimately result in a loss of driving privileges.