High-occupancy vehicle lanes serve a variety of functions such as easing traffic congestion, shortening travel times and providing a tangible way to reduce carbon emissions. Not all highways in Dallas have HOV lanes, but some of the major highways with congestion problems -- such as Interstate 635, U.S. 75, I-35 and I-30 -- do make use of HOV lanes. While you have free access to HOV lanes in Dallas, important rules and restrictions govern their use.
It Takes Two
The most basic requirement for legal access to HOV lanes is that there be at least two people in the automobile. This includes school buses, Dallas Area Rapid Transit buses, van-pools and carpools. The notable exception to this rule is that single motorcyclists are allowed full use of HOV lanes. Also, be aware that transit police regularly patrol the use of HOV lanes, and if they catch you breaking this rule, you will be assessed a hefty fine.
Crossing the Lines
It is illegal to cross the double white lines to enter or exit the HOV lane. You may enter or exit the HOV lane only when there are broken white lines present. This means that if your exit ramp comes before you have a chance to legally exit the HOV lane, you should not use the HOV lane. Besides the illegality of crossing the double white lines, it is dangerous to do so because other motorists expect that you will not be changing lanes when there are double white lines bounding the HOV lane from its adjacent lane.
Good To Go
You can access the HOV lanes 24 hours a day barring construction, maintenance or special holidays. To ensure that you will have full access to the HOV lanes, call the Dallas Area Rapid Transit office or check its website for notification of any potential closings. Some of the HOV lanes are closed on the following holidays: New Year's Day, MLK Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
Good To Know
Motorists using the HOV lanes must obey all road signs including speed limit signs. Refer to the posted speed limits on the right shoulder that all other motorists must obey. Also, because only one lane is designated an HOV lane on each highway, passing of other cars in the HOV lane is prohibited.