Everyone wants to ease the burden of their daily commute. Driving on the 101, the 202, or the 51 during peak traffic times can almost double or triple the length of a drive. HOV lanes, which started appearing in Phoenix about 10 years ago, were designed to smooth the flow of traffic by promoting carpooling and thus reducing the number of vehicles on the road. Ideally fewer cars on the road will also lead to fewer car accidents.
You may be wondering, what are the specifics rules regarding HOV lanes? When can I drive in them, and when can’t I? How can I speed up my daily commute while making sure I never violate HOV laws or get a ticket?
On Arizona highways, the HOV lane will almost always be the left most lane of traffic. It will be marked periodically by a white diamond painted on the asphalt. Not just any car is allowed to enter the HOV lane.
A standard vehicle may only us the HOV lane if they have 2 or more people in it. This includes the driver. If you are driving solo, stay out! If you have a friend with you, come on in.
As with any rule, there are exceptions. First off, motorcyclists are permitted to use the HOV lane at any time. Public transportation vehicles, such as public busses are also given free reign of the HOV lane. If you drive a hybrid vehicle that achieve a 455 percent increase in combined highway/city fuel efficiency, you are welcome as well! So too are tow-trucks.
If you are a single driver you may not enter the HOV lane for any reason, not even to pass. If you are caught in the HOV lane you may face a fine of up to $400.