According to Kiro 7 News, after 37 years, the “764-HERO” program used to report carpool lane violators will end on Sept. 22.
The Washington State Department of Transportation began the program in 1984 to educate high-occupancy lane violators about the purpose, rules and benefits of the freeway lanes. The goal was to encourage travelers to call 1-877-764-HERO to help enforce HOV lane rules in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. It was expanded in 2010 to include Washington State Ferries waiting lanes.
After receiving reports from the phone number, WSDOT mails first-time violators educational materials. Second-time HOV lane violators are sent a letter from WSDOT, and third-time violators are sent a letter from the Washington State Patrol.
According to Kiro 7 News, the program is ended because most drivers are familiar with how HOV lanes and ferry lines work. The Washington State Patrol will continue to issue violations.
Over the next few months, crews will begin removing the “764-HERO” signs across King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. The signs will be gradually replaced with signs showing the fine for improperly using HOV lanes. Violators could be fined $186 for the first offense. Repeat offenders face up to $536. Increased fines also apply to motorists who have a mannequin, doll or dummy.
My opinion? An HOV ticket may not seem serious. The fine is usually fairly small and you may just be tempted to pay the infraction. However, HOV tickets are moving violations. Your insurance company could raise your rates as a result.
Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with a crime to include Reckless Driving. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.