Navigating Nevada’s HOV Lanes: Rules & Regulations
Nevada operates High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes in many areas of the state. These are commonly referred to as “carpool lanes” and are intended to reduce congestion and commuting times while increasing the flow of traffic through especially busy areas. According to Nevada state law, drivers may only travel in the HOV lanes when there are two or more people in the vehicle. Additionally, motorcycles, buses, and emergency vehicles are authorized to use the HOV lanes.
A violation of traffic laws in the HOV lane can result in a fine of at least $250 and the addition of four demerit points to the driver’s license. Las Vegas currently has a penalty of $352 for HOV violations.
Demerit Points In Nevada: How They Impact Your Driving Record
It is illegal in Nevada to drive in an HOV lane if you do not have any passengers in your vehicle. If you are stopped by law enforcement, you can expect a citation and four demerit points on your driver’s license. These points will fall off after one year. However, if you receive twelve or more demerit points in one year, your driver’s license will be suspended for six months.
Individuals who are caught driving on a suspended license may face a misdemeanor charge, which carries penalties of $1000 in fines and/or up to six months in jail.
Risks & Safety Concerns Associated with HOV Lanes
Although HOV lanes are faster, they are not necessarily safer. Our Las Vegas car accident law firm assists many individuals who have been injured in HOV lane accidents. Drivers are at an equal or higher risk of accidents in an HOV lane than those in other traffic lanes. There are multiple reasons for this potentially increased risk:
- Slow entry of traffic: Vehicles in the HOV lane are typically moving at a consistent speed, while drivers who enter the lane may be moving much more slowly as they move out of a congested lane of traffic. This increases the chance of a collision.
- Fast exit of vehicles: Vehicles in the HOV tend to exit the lane at a higher rate of speed than vehicles in the general traffic lanes, putting other vehicles at risk of being rear-ended.
- No barriers: There are no barriers between HOV and general traffic lanes, which can result in accidents as one lane of traffic moves much more quickly than the other.
How Do HOV Lane Violations Affect Accident Liability?
After an accident, law enforcement, insurance adjusters, and your Nevada personal injury lawyer will examine the evidence to determine who was primarily at fault for the accident. This driver will be legally liable to financially compensate for the losses and damages of the other parties in the accident.
When a vehicle is legally using the HOV lanes, liability will be determined as with any other accident. However, a driver who was illegally traveling the HOV lane or who was illegally moving in or out of the HOV lane and became involved in a car accident will almost certainly be deemed primarily at fault for the collision.
Nevada recognizes the modified comparative negligence rule, in which each party involved in an accident is assigned a percentage of fault. The party who is at least 51% responsible cannot pursue compensation and will be liable for covering the damages of the other parties. If you are 49% or less at fault, you can still seek compensation, but your financial compensation will be scaled down according to the percentage of which you were at fault.
This means that a driver who is illegally using an HOV lane and gets into an accident may not be able to recover any compensation for the situation. Further, the driver may also receive acitation and fine in addition to holding civil responsibility for the crash. If the driver carries only the minimum required auto insurance coverage, they will also need to pay for their vehicle damage and any accident-related expenses out-of-pocket.
Are Passengers In HOV Lanes Responsible For Accidents?
There are few circumstances in which a passenger is responsible for a HOV lane accident. In the vast majority of cases, a driver will be liable. Passengers who are injured can work with a Las Vegas personal injury attorney to file a personal injury claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, against the policy of the driver who was operating the vehicle in which they were riding, or sometimes both, depending on the circumstances of the accident.
Consult With Benson & Bingham: Expert Legal Assistance For HOV Lane Accident Victims In Nevada
If you’ve been injured in an HOV lane accident in Nevada, you need legal representation from a trusted local personal injury attorney who understands the law and is prepared to fight on your behalf. Reach out to Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC to schedule your obligation-free, confidential consultation. Our experienced team of personal injury lawyers specializes in assisting victims of car accidents with professionalism and expertise. Contact us today to begin the process!