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Solo Drivers Might Be Able To Use Coveted Carpool Lanes During Off Hours

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(Photo by Gary Rides Bikes via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Solo drivers might soon be able to cruise the carpool lanes for a few hours a day without fear of a ticket.

The State Assembly and Senate have both approved the bill (only one grinchy assembly member voted it down) and if Governor Brown signs it, it would become a law on July 1, 2014. He's got until October 13 to sign it.

AB 405 is designed to relieve traffic jams by opening up the carpool lanes to all drivers during off-peak hours. Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, who wrote the bill, tells City News Service, "There is no reason for drivers to be stuck in traffic when a midday or late-night accident or mysterious slowing clogs the rightmost freeway lanes, while the carpool lane sits empty." Hear, hear.

He says it's a "cost-effective and common-sense way to ease unnecessary congestion" that still "[promotes] ride-sharing and carpooling during the busiest travel hours,'' he said.

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The current price of driving solo in a carpool lane is $340. If passed, the new policy would be implemented first on the 134 and 210 freeways.

Another Gatto bill, AB 184, would double the statute of limitations for hit-and-run accidents. It also cleared the Assembly today and is headed to governor's desk, CNS reports.

Under the bill, law enforcement officials have six years, instead of three, to catch perpetrators in hit-and-run cases. Gatto cited the "epidemic'' of drivers taking off after hitting someone, leaving them for dead. There are 20,000 hit-and-runs in the L.A. area per year, according to a recent report, the highest statistic in the nation.

Related:
LAPD Detective Talks L.A.'s Hit-And-Run Crisis On '20/20'
Motion To Shrink L.A.'s 20,000 Annual Hit-And-Run Cases Goes Before Public Safety Committee
Waaaah! The Carpool Party is Over: Hybrid Yellow Stickers Lose Their Magic
Taking a Toll: More of Our Carpool Lanes Could Get 'HOT'