209 HOV Violators Cited In Crackdown In Northern Virginia

By Ashley Halsey III
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 17, 2009

Police had given advance warning that they would be ticketing along Northern Virginia's HOV lanes Wednesday morning, but more than 200 drivers apparently paid them no heed.

That will cost them $125 to $1,000, depending on how often they've gotten caught driving alone in lanes reserved for vehicles with more than one occupant during rush hour.

State and local police joined forces to target drivers who try to slip into HOV lanes on three interstates -- 66, 95, 395 -- and the Dulles Toll Road during three hours of intense enforcement that ended at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

They caught 196 first-time offenders, eight second-time offenders and four three-time offenders, state police said. One driver got caught for the fourth time.

Police stopped 209 HOV violators, but they dispensed 374 citations because they noticed cars waiting on interstate ramps for the rush-hour restriction to end (not allowed) and caught people without driver's licenses, not wearing seat belts and indulging in other behavior deemed unsafe or illegal. "Hopefully this . . . effort sends a clear message to those drivers who persist on breaking the law by refusing to comply with HOV regulations," said Capt. Tracy Russillo, commander of the Virginia State Police's Fairfax division. State police cited 48 HOV offenders in a crackdown on I-66 last week, including one driver who was caught for the fourth time.