New California Bill Extending HOV Access -SB 957

New California Bill Extending HOV Access -SB 957

Hi, thought Californians would be interested in, and perhaps lobby your representatives to support, the following bill:

Summary: if you got your white HOV stickers prior to 1/1/17, you currently are screwed on 1/1/19. (There is another bill that would extend such access only for people with incomes below 80% of the median California income.)

This bill will allow those with 1/1/19 expiring stickers to re-apply for an additional four years of HOV access.

Between this bill, and another that seeks to improve enforcement of HOV occupancy laws, we may indeed get more than two years of HOV access after all.

SB 957, as introduced, Lara. Vehicles: high-occupancy vehicle lanes.
Existing state law authorizes the Department of Transportation to designate certain lanes for the exclusive use of high-occupancy vehicles (HOVs). Existing law also authorizes, until January 1, 2019, ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs), and until September 30, 2025, or until the date federal authorization expires, or until the Secretary of State receives a specified notice, whichever occurs first, super ultra-low emission vehicles (SULEVs), enhanced advanced technology partial zero-emission vehicles (enhanced AT PZEVs), or transitional zero-emission vehicles (TZEVs), as specified, that display a valid identifier issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles to use these HOV lanes. Existing law makes it a crime to drive one of those vehicles in an HOV lane without properly displaying the issued identifier and having the vehicle registration with the vehicle, or to operate or own a vehicle displaying an identifier if the identifier was not issued for that vehicle. Existing law makes identifiers for ULEVs valid until January 1, 2019, and makes identifiers for SULEVs, enhanced AT PEZEVs, and TZEVs valid until January 1, 2019, January 1, 2022, or January 1 of the 4th year after the year in which they were issued, as specified. Existing law, except as specified, prohibits a vehicle from being issued an identifier more than once.

This bill would authorize an identifier to be issued to SULEVs, enhanced AT PEZEVs, and TZEVs for a vehicle that had previously been issued an identifier and would make that identifier valid until January 1 of the 4th year after the year in which the identifier was issued if the applicant for the identifier has a household income at or below 80% of the statewide median income, or at or below a specified threshold designated as low income. The bill would also make a conforming change and technical, nonsubstantive changes.

hktvset | 21 February, 2018

Already so many cars are using the carpool lanes including the carpool cars, HOV sticker cars and FasTrak toll cars. I don't think we should extend them when more new EV are coming on the road.

We should encourage people carpooling so less cars will be on the road making the traffic and air quality better.

carlk | 21 February, 2018

Agree with @hktvset. There will soon be more cars on HOV lanes than on regular lanes the sticker would be pretty useless. On the other hand car pool incentive never worked either. We really need to think of a better solution for it.

RedShift | 21 February, 2018

Dedicated pod transport infrastructure? Boring tunnels?

SCCRENDO | 21 February, 2018

This is such a load of BS. The HOV lanes are designed to get people and polluting vehicles off the road. That we are environmentally friendly we deserve carpool privileges. This has got nothing to do with our economic status. Part of the reason I am earning more results from travel and I am no less deserving than someone who earns less than me. Certainly multi occupancy vehicles deserve HOV privileges. However is a parent in an SUV taking kids to school or a mother with a baby in the car decreasing road occupancy. They would not be transporting any less individuals nor putting more cars on the road without the HOV lanes. It is also laughable to see gas guzzling trucks occupying the HOV lane

rxlawdude | 21 February, 2018

The reason the HOV lanes are congested is NOT from EVs. If you even do a cursory mental survey, you'll see that green and white sticker holders are no more than 30% of the lane occupants. On the other hand, probably 25% in the HOV lanes are cheats: ICE vehicles with one person in them.

Better enforcement to get rid of the cheats would more than offset any additional strain that EVs cause. Eliminating the green (plug-in hybrids) stickers would also reduce the traffic in those lanes. (How to these continue to get preferential access? One word: lobbyists.)

So I respectfully disagree that BEVs should not continue to have access until and unless the federal standards for HOV lanes (travel speed in HOV vs main lanes) is exceeded, at which time HOV lanes are open solely to 2+ or 3+ occupants.

SCCRENDO | 21 February, 2018

I would certainly think that all EVs including older ones and those belonging to wealthier folk deserve preference over green stickers.

hktvset | 21 February, 2018

@RedShift How about giving Tesla's owners discount using Boring Company's tunnel? Or let the new MS and MX owners to use it free for a year or so to push the sales beside giving the free super charging.

rxlawdude | 21 February, 2018

@SCC, "and those belonging to wealthier folk deserve preference..."

Kidding, right?

SCCRENDO | 21 February, 2018

Not kidding. Why should our financial situation have anything to do with it. Green stickers are still partial polluters. When we are limiting car pool stickers zero emission vehicles deserve preference over partial polluters independent of income. I have no issue with being denied the California rebate because of income but I do take issue with income discrimination and HOV access.

rxlawdude | 21 February, 2018

Ah, now I see what you meant, but it sounded a bit elitist on first read. :-)

SCCRENDO | 21 February, 2018

Me elitist?? never?? LOL

Earl and Nagin ... | 22 February, 2018

My proposal to solve what I see as being the real "problem" would be for the state to start designating additional lanes as HOV (carpool) lanes to keep them moving. This would reward all people who reduce pollution until, hopefully, sometime in the future, all vehicles would be zero or low emissions vehicle.
My understanding was that, when HOV lane concept began, the original, economically sustainable approach was to use road-use taxes (that scaled with population growth) to keep increasing road sizes or add roads to accommodate the growing population. There became resistance to this, however, because it would just increase the pollution and the environment couldn't support that (ie not ecologically sustainable). HOV lanes were seen as a way to increase the population's mobility without increasing pollution levels.
In my opinion, zero emissions vehicles accomplish the same thing while allowing more versatility to the population by enabling single driver travel. Therefore, there should be no limit on the number of such clean vehicles, instead, more should be encouraged. The process should promote expansion to 100% clean vehicles.
I'm not sure how to approach getting such an idea passed, however. Everything seems to be selfishly driven these days with the law being used as a battle ground to beat the other guy instead of making things better for all.

rxlawdude | 22 February, 2018

@E&N, the problem is that in California, I highly doubt you will ever see a new HOV that isn't already under construction.

The reason? The brilliance of our leaders to foist HO TOLL lanes upon us. The rights of way that we taxpayers already paid for are being used in ways I don't think anyone 30 years ago would have imagined in California. The 91-Express Lanes was the first such theft of public right of way.

The upcoming addition of lanes to I-405 in OC will eliminate the HOV lanes and replace them with HOT lanes. Sucks.

RedShift | 22 February, 2018


Unless we get the funds to build additional infrastructure, we are stuck with our slow moving traffic as long as economy is good.

All solutions to speed up traffic require huge investments into new infrastructure.

rxlawdude | 22 February, 2018

@RedShift, well, no problem! Our President has proffered an infrastructure plan worth $1.5 T.

Except it's really $200B of federal and the rest will come from local taxpayers, or out of taxpayer's wallets when the privatized infrastructure is monetized.


teslu3 | 22 February, 2018

"All solutions to speed up traffic require huge investments into new infrastructure." True for the current way of thinking. About $15M/mile according to www.latimes.
com/local/la-me-0523-405-20140524-story.html notes. Caltrans expects an HOV lane to carry 3100 people per hour. As the number of cars will likely increase 50% in 10 years, expect congestion to remain.

A platoon under ITS (intelligent transportation systems) control could have 3 cars per second, or triple the HOV capacity if all are single occupant. Cars would talk to each other and sense nearby objects not part of the ITS so they could follow closely but merge with non-ITS traffic. Better than a virtual train.

One entrepreneur already thinks outside the box, at least in a boring way. ITS is another seemingly impractical idea, but in 10 or so years it could be done and cost far far less. Not just one HOV lane on I-405 would benefit but other I-405 lanes, and I-5, and other highways and roads and not just SoCal. Get other car manufactures to join in; gov't might help with standards if the federal cost is a mere $B instead of $200B. Replace plans for 1000s of miles of new HOV lanes with denser but safer traffic on existing lanes.

Nah, never mind, we like our slow traffic and jobs for road construction.

Earl and Nagin ... | 23 February, 2018

My plan would not require building any new lanes initially. The left most normal lane would just become HOV until only 1 lane is not HOV. Building new lanes or highways is an independent thing.
I know it won't work because of the screaming it will cause among ICE drivers but I have to figure out the goal before working on the path to get to it.
Now that useful EVs are within economical reach of most people, we may start seeing more support for this kind of activity.

rxlawdude | 23 February, 2018

@E & N, the argument you'll hear is that since EVs don't emit anything, they are best used in crawling traffic where they replace idling ICE engines that pollute more - and therefore, ICE vehicles should have the HOV priority. ;-)

Believe me, as an early low emission vehicle HOV lane user (2005, yellow stickers), I've heard all the arguments to ban the cleaner vehicles, replaced with now moving (in the HOV lane), less polluting ICE vehicles.

Earl and Nagin ... | 24 February, 2018

Yep, I've heard them all too. I actually beat you by more than a decade with white stickers on an EV1 back when CA first introduced the program in ~2001.
Its amazing how creative people can be at justifying why they are better than others and, as such, should get priority over others. They'll find the lamest justification, then latch onto it with a death grip, refusing to let it go.

vkbf | 19 June, 2019

Late to the party, but found this thread doing research on the new dang HOV limitations debacle. I have an update on this bill. It was passed, but does have the median income language. Which I believe, for 2018, family of four, is $80,458. Going to be tough not to sound elitist... but I hope we end up under the cap. I want my sticker back!
Good luck all!