Does anybody keep track of crash statistics on the High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on some of our local freeways?
I drove up the DVP onto 404 the other day, more-or-less in the middle of rush hour, and I couldn't believe the number of dangerous situations I saw.
For starters, I think there's probably a correlation between those who car-pool and those who tend to drive slower than the normal flow of traffic. Friend of the environment and all that.
So why are these lanes invariably positioned to the left of the highway? The left-most lane is supposed to be the fast lane. One left-lane bandit can clog the highway for km after km because there's no way to get around him.
And when cars try to escape the HOV lane to exit the highway, they are spewed right out into faster traffic. I saw several near-hits in just a few km. That makes the HOV lane an HDV lane - High-Danger Vehicle lane.
Now, like California, these new HOV lanes require only ONE extra rider - you can car-pool in a Miata.
But the main thing I noticed during my brief flirtation with these lanes is that I'd estimate between 70 and 80 percent of the cars in the HOV lane in fact had just the driver in them.
I can only imagine that most of these drivers run this route every day, and know that the enforcement of the two-to-a-car rule must be near-zero. Because there they were, taking advantage of the HOV lane without meeting the criterion.
Which also makes them HDV lanes - High-Duplicity Vehicle lanes.
If there isn't going to be any enforcement, then there is no incentive to car-pool, hence they should simply do away with this concept and return all lanes to all traffic.
Oh yes, and encourge everyone to Drive Right.