Carpool Lane Violation Overview
California Vehicle Code 21655.5 makes it illegal to drive in a high-occupancy vehicle lane (A.K.A., a carpool lane) with no passenger. A violation of VC 21655.5 is an infraction and will result in a fine of $490. Unlike many other traffic violations, a carpool lane violation does not result in a point on a driver’s driving record.
Carpool Lane Violation Defenses
The most common legal defense against a carpool lane violation is necessity. If the driver can demonstrate they were using the carpool lane out of necessity, such as an emergency, they will successfully defend against the carpool lane violation.
Note that motorcyclists may always use the carpool lane even without a passenger.