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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) It’s a common site: bumper-to-bumper traffic while the HOV (or carpool) lane is perfectly clear.
Drivers have been tempted to cross the white line but remember there’s the risk of $250 fine. But on some stretches, that fine has all but disappeared.
Las Vegas City Council sent a strong message Wednesday night.
“It’s not fair to dedicate a road that the taxpayers pay for to a certain group of people,” said Councilman Stavros Anthony.
“HOV enforcement does not do anything to reduce accidents and injuries."
They said they’re not going to enforce HOV violations.
“This is trying to get people to get another person in their car and to use this HOV and that’s not going to happen,” said Anthony.
File Image | Getty
The Nevada Department of Transportation disagreed.
On Monday, 20 more miles of HOV lanes on 95 and I-15 were scheduled to open and be monitored 24/7.
“The social engineering part is a complete waste of time,” said Anthony.
Neighbors in the northwest part of the valley have been complaining to Anthony about the traffic.
So he went to Las Vegas City Attorney Brad Jerbic
“Speeding which is life-threatening running a stop sign which is life-threatening running a red light which is life-threatening have fines that are either less or about the same as using an HOV lane which is not life-threatening,” Jerbic said.
If a driver is caught in the HOV lane alone, they could get hit with a $250 ticket. Within Las Vegas city limits, if someone gets a ticket they can go to court and ask for the fine to be reduced to a parking ticket. The court will lower it down to $10.
“I think there should be more people allowed to drive on there,” said one valley resident.
"If I don’t have my kids or my husband with me, I don’t drive in that lane. Might take me a little longer but it’s for people to carpool. It’s what it’s for,” said another driver.
One woman said, “it’s going to help the movement of traffic.”
The city can’t ban HOV lanes, the state has more power.
NDOT said it’s disappointing the city is rushing to judgement without giving the full HOV system a chance to work.
NHP did not have a comment Thursday night.