What is a NY HOV violation?
On certain highways in NY, specific lanes are designated for HOV or High Occupancy Vehicles only. This means more than one person in the vehicle at certain times of the day and days of the week. The one exception to the multiple occupants requirement is the NY Clean Pass program that allows eligible energy-efficient vehicles to use the 40-mile Long Island Expressway HOV lanes regardless of the number of occupants in the vehicle.
How can I get a traffic ticket for a violating the NY HOV laws?
If an officer sees a vehicle driving in an HOV lane with just a driver and no passenger(s) during the restricted days/times, the driver may be issued a summons. Officers are also pretty skilled at identifying “dummy passengers” when they are looking for HOV violations.
HOV violations in NY carry two points except for violations relative to the improper use of high occupancy vehicle lanes in Suffolk County, between exits 49 and 57 of the Long Island Expressway. It is a zero point violation there.
Is an HOV violation a big deal?
As a zero point violation or a two point violation, it’s obviously not the biggest or most severe ticket one could get. Insurance companies would basically treat an HOV violation as a disobeying a traffic device or sign violation. It’s similar in severity to a typical “no turns 9a to 5p” or “no commercial vehicles” sign or other sign restricting vehicles from using a certain road or lane at certain times. While many violations of signs such as these might not really have caused any type of dangerous situation (HOV violations are a good example of this), insurance companies can’t distinguish between the less and more risky maneuvers that lead to violations. To an insurance company, it’s an instance of a driver not fully obeying the rules of the road which in general is indicative of a higher risk driver compared to one who has never committed any violations. While it’s not a major violation on its own, it’s certainly a violation that would register on an insurance company’s radar when reviewing a customer’s driving history.
Why was I issued multiple tickets for a single HOV lane violation?
In many Suffolk and Nassau County HOV lane violation cases, we’ll see multiple tickets issued in addition to the HOV ticket. Using the HOV lane requires entering and exiting the lane at one of the designated entrance or exit locations and it requires using a signal upon moving into or out of the HOV lane and it requires a movement made a safe distance from other vehicles while making the switch from one lane to another. Officers in Nassau and Suffolk have clearly been instructed to issue as many of these violations as they see.
Entering or exiting at improper points means driving over the pavement markings separating the HOV lane from the lane next to it. This is often written as either a disobey traffic control device ticket or crossing hazard markings ticket–both are two point violations. Failing to signal is a two point ticket if the officer doesn’t observe a signal while moving into or out of the HOV lane. If the movement isn’t deemed safe by the officer, a three point unsafe lane change ticket will be potentially added to the mix as well.
What can I do if I’ve been charged with a NY HOV violation or any of the common related charges?
How you deal with tickets is always somewhat dictated by where the tickets are issued. NYC and Long Island have different court systems and different options available for challenging moving violations. Click here to read more about the different types of NY traffic courts. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about an HOV or related violation.