Maryland state police say they’re going to focus their traffic law enforcement campaign on Route 50’s High Occupancy Vehicle lanes in Prince George’s County on Wednesday morning.
They don’t plan to issue any warnings. Drivers caught disobeying the lane restrictions can get a $90 fine and a point on their licenses. HOV lane rules on Route 50 are in effect 24 hours a day.
Overnight Friday, the state police conducted an enforcement campaign along the Beltway in Prince George’s County focused on aggressive, drunk, speeding and inattentive drivers. The troopers issued 91 citations for speeding, charged 11 people with driving on suspended or revoked licenses, arrested three on drunk driving charges and arrested one for a drug violation.
At the time, police warned that this HOV crackdown was coming. They said in a statement today that they’ve received many complaints about drivers violating the requirement that there be at least two people in each vehicle in the far left lanes along the HOV zones.
So their plan is to have extra state troopers on patrol along the 7.5 miles of Route 50 between Route 301 and the Capital Beltway. While they’re out there, they also can issue traffic tickets for any other bad behavior, including speeding, aggressive driving or driving under the influence.
Anywhere in the D.C. region that an HOV lane exits, drivers complain about violators. It’s particularly easy to break the rules on Route 50 because drivers can weave in and out of the restricted lane. Some use it simply as a passing lane.
HOV enforcement is difficult anywhere because the traffic stops create a potential safety hazard for the police and the motorists and also create their own traffic congestion. Drivers in all the lanes see the police and slow down, going through a mental check list of what traffic laws they might be breaking.
The state police said they’ll try to adjust to traffic and safety conditions during the Wednesday morning campaign.