CHP Allows Cheaters to Sneak into Car Pool Lanes

By Matt Baume
|  Friday, Jan 28, 2011  |  Updated 3:00 PM PDT
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CHP Allows Cheaters to Sneak into Car Pool Lanes

Getty Images/Uppercut

Carpool. Fit as many people as you can into that Hybrid to cut down on emissions during your daily commute. Plus, it'll save on gas money.

Carpool cheaters may be surprised to learn that they have a friend in the California Highway Patrol.

The CHP is supposed to ticket single-occupant cars driving in the carpool lane. But frequently, they do not. Enforcing car pool lanes is not a top priority, one CHP officer told the Press Democrat.

That's because funding shortfall have left CHP officers with fewer enforcement resources. In past years, federal funds have helped the CHP issue tickets.

Were they able to issue more tickets, it would be quite a lucrative trade. Various entities take a cut of the $480 fine.

As a result of the lax enforcement, car pool lanes are rife with violators. The number of cheaters caught in 2009 was up from the previous year, from 1,458 to 1,667.

But the number of violators is much, much higher, according to the paper. They watched the carpool lane and calculated that 460 violators passed in just one afternoon. That works out to about 120,000 cheaters a year.

In San Francisco, MTA officials recently called for more enforcement of existing laws. But mayoral candidate Phil Ting shot back, demanding clemency for scofflaws.

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