WASATCH FRONT – Some lanes of I-15 may feel more crowded, starting today. Hybrid vehicle owners are no longer allowed to drive in carpool lanes by themselves, simply because they own a hybrid.
This change was not based on any decision from UDOT or UHP. This actually came from the US Congress. In 2005, lawmakers wrote an exemption into federal law and it allowed the owners of hybrid vehicles to use HOV lanes, even if no one else was in the car with them.
“There was a sunset clause that ran out, today,” according to UDOT Spokesman John Gleason.
Congress could have extended this exemption, but, Gleason says they failed to do that. So, if hybrid owners want to use those lanes, they’ll either have to pay to use them or have more than one person in the car.
“Single occupant hybrid drivers are not allowed to use the express lane as they have been in the past. They’ll be subject to the same rules as normal fuel vehicles would be,” Gleason says.
How will Utah Highway Patrol enforce this? Will they start writing a lot of tickets right away? Probably not.
Sergeant Nick Street says, “Our job as law enforcement officers isn’t necessarily always to ‘bring the hammer down.’”
Street can’t guarantee that UHP won’t write tickets, but, for now, each ticket will be handed out on the discretion of the trooper making the stop. He says there are likely a lot of drivers who didn’t know about the change.
“In a circumstance where somebody has that carbon sticker, still thinks they’re good and didn’t know the law changed, we’re going to err on the side of education,” he says.
Today’s Top Stories
- 47-year-old mother of four graduates top of her class at UVU College of Science
- Chad Daybell faces new charges a day after Lori Vallow appeared in court on same counts
- Officers escort a fallen deputy’s wife across the stage at her graduation
- “Judge Judy” ending after 25 seasons
- Fake news: what it is, and how it can influence politics
- Benjamin Keough, grandson of Elvis Presley, dies at 27
- BYU rallies to beat Tennessee 29-26 in OT
- Bad breath behind that mask? 10 reasons and remedies for your halitosis
- Burgess Owens in Washington for orientation for Utah’s 4th district
- Church leaders break ground for the Auckland New Zealand Temple