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8/19/2005
Virginia Commuters Outraged by HOV Enforcement
Virginia State Police carpool lane enforcement effort backfires as irate commuters flood switchboards with complaints.

I-395
Thousands of Virginia commuters were late to work Thursday morning after a state police high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane ticketing campaign caused a massive backup on Interstate 95. Some eighteen officers set up shop in the middle of one of the carpool lanes around Exit 166 at Newington, waving over any vehicle with fewer than the required three passengers. Their efforts during the 6 am to 7:15 am rush hour caused an eight-mile backup. Police did, however, generate between $2600 and $52,000 in revenue, as citations run from a $50 first offense to a $1000 fourth offense. Irate motorists flooded police and local radio stations with complaints.

Regular HOV enforcement on I-95 and I-395 often causes extreme congestion not only in the HOV lanes, but in regular traffic lanes as Virginia commuters driving to work at the nation's capital slow or even stop to see why a state trooper is standing in the middle of the freeway express lane.



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