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Approved Bill Could Allow Solo Motorists To Drive In Carpool Lanes

LOS ANGELES ( — Solo motorists could drive in carpool lanes on Los Angeles freeways for a few hours during the day under a bill approved Tuesday.

The bill, which was approved by the state Assembly on a 69-1 vote, is awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown's signature.

Assembly member Mike Gatto introduced the bill, AB 405, to ease traffic congestion by permitting single-occupancy vehicles to access the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes — also known as carpool lanes — on certain freeways during non-peak hours.

"Carpool lanes were designed to reword those who pool their rides during the busiest rush hour," Gatto said. "The Northern California freeways where this has been adopted, the carpool lane is a carpool lane only from 6 to 10 a.m. in the morning commute and then again from 4 and 7 p.m. in the evening commute, but any other time in the day or night solo drivers are free to access the carpool lane."

If Brown signs the bill into law, Caltrans would set up test zones along the Ventura (134) Freeway and the Foothill (210) Freeway.

A 2011 CalTrans report indicated that the majority of HOV lanes in Southern California are not being utilized to capacity during non-peak hours, leaving single-passenger vehicles idling in slow-going or stand-still lanes.

A solo motorist faces a ticket costing approximately $340 if caught driving in a carpool lane.

Pending Brown's signature, the bill would go into effect July 1, 2014.

RELATED STORY: Solo Drivers In Carpool Lanes? Lawmaker Wants Freeway Reform

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