WaPo reports on a rise in the inability of the police to adequately enforce so-called High Occupancy Vehicle lanes in the DC Metro area. This is an interesting phenomenon, and one I was not familiar with before moving to the area last August. Essentially, the leftmost lane on some of the roads are restricted to vehicles carrying two (and sometimes three) or more passengers. The idea is to give people an incentive to carpool but, since most people commute long distances to work and most offices don’t have enough people to make the odds of co-workers living in the same neighborhoods likely, it just rewards people who were going to have two people in their car, anyway. And annoys the people who are paying for that lane with their tax dollars but nonetheless have to now crowd into one fewer lane. That a lot of people get frustrated and circumvent the law is hardly surprising.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Policing, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. jen says:

    HOV is ridiculous. Fortunately, for those of us stuck on I-66, the HOV lane is very often slower than the other lanes. That’s justice. :evil grin:

  2. John Lemon says:

    An even more aggravating look into HOV lanes in the Barrel of Fish , plus some smirky comments about OTB.

  3. joy says:

    In New Jersey, they spent a few years while I was in college to build HOV lanes on Rt. 287. (All of that stupid construction I had to drive through.) Anyway, only after a year or two of existence and complaints from all quarters, then Gov. Whitman decides to get rid of the HOV lanes because they were not working.

    Listen, if HOV couldn’t work in a densely populated area like NJ, then they sure as heck aren’t going to work anywhere else. The best thing NJ got from the experiment is the expanded and repaved roadways. I wonder if the state had to give back any federal funding for the project though, since the stated use was rescinded.