Highly motivated people will be looking for Capital Beltway HOT lane scofflaws

By Robert Thomson
Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I read with great interest your recent article on the upcoming HOT lanes [Commuter page, June 6]. I wondered how the police are going to enforce the restrictions. HOV enforcement is rather easy in comparison!

Right now, all the police have to do is see if there are two or three people in the car. However, with HOT lanes, single drivers are allowed. How do the police know if you have a transponder or not? Further, what prevents a single driver from getting a carpool transponder and not paying anything? This seems a real nightmare for law enforcement.

-- Fred Heggi,

Gaithersburg

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

What's to keep someone with a carpool switch on the transponder from leaving it in that mode even when traveling solo?

I know these types of lanes operate successfully in states including California, but as a writer to your column [Dr. Gridlock, June 10] pointed out, might California drivers also be more law-abiding than D.C. drivers as well as being more courteous? The flouting of HOV rules in this area is high already; might these new lanes, for which a patrol officer can't tell simply by observing a vehicle whether the car paid the toll or is riding free as a carpooler, just increase the temptation to be a scofflaw?

-- Ray Schneider,


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