DPS cracks down on HOV lane violations

We've all seen them, drivers in the HOV lane during designated hours with no one else in the car, and no alternative fuel registration. You may wonder if anyone is enforcing those laws, and the answer is yes.

"I can tell you in all my years of driving I've never accidentally ended up in the HOV lane," said DPS Trooper Steven Jacobs.

On a ride-along with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, it was clear that several violators used that an excuse, but Trooper Jacobs did not buy it.

"There's signage every 1/4 mile, the lane lines are different, they got diamonds in it, it's very obviously a different lane with a different intention, it's not a secret," said Jacobs.

In just two hours Jacobs handed out seven citations, at $401 a pop, that's just over $2,800 in fines.

Drivers used excuses like swerving into the lane to avoid an accident or needing to use the restroom.

Because it is considered a strict liability offense, there's no real defense that can get you out of paying.

"It doesn't matter why you did it, or what your intention was, if you're over there illegally, you did it, and you're responsible," said Jacobs.

DPS says there have been 1,410 HOV lane citations handed out, in total that is more than $500,000. At that rate citations could rake in upwards of $3.3 million a year.