LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – There’s a lesser chance of Las Vegas drivers getting a ticket in the carpool lane when driving alone as of Tuesday morning.
The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) altered its High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane enforcement periods, which was once a 24/7 operation. Now, it’s 6:00 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays only.
It comes after the NDOT board of directors indicated in early April that Nevada HOV lanes are not doing what they’re supposed to: increasing the number of people carpooling and decreasing the number of cars on the road.
“It’s really causing people to break the law,” Nevada Lieutenant Governor Stavros Anthony told the board on April 10.
But, NDOT was already in the midst of evaluating how effective previous HOV rules were. An 18-month study began in October 2022 to yield data that would have been used to justify changes to carpool enforcement afterward.
That study is still ongoing after nearly six months, NDOT Public Information Officer Justin Hopkins said.
Now, with the executive decision from the board to immediately change the hours of enforcement, the Federal Highway Administration directed NDOT to complete a different study after Lieutenant Governor Anthony expressed a desire of eliminating the lanes altogether.
“Everything from noise to the effect on air quality, to whether or not people benefit from the actual HOV lanes,” Hopkins said outside the Las Vegas NDOT offices Tuesday morning.
It’s all information, part of the federally required environmental study, that needs to be collected before the potential elimination. That study is expected to take 18 to 24 months.
“At this point, it’s a little too early to know if this shortened time period is going to have any impact on the effectiveness of the use of the lanes, but that’s something that will be studied,” Hopkins said.
With the minimized hours, state troopers can focus on other areas of enforcement, like speeding and reckless driving. Though, when 8 News Now asked Nevada State Police on Tuesday about this shift in resources, a representative sent the same statement they gave after the April 10 vote:
The Nevada State Police Highway Patrol Division prioritizes traffic enforcement activities across the state to maximize the safety of motorists. This includes enforcement efforts directed at HOV lane violations. Following the Transportation Board’s action to adjust HOV lane hours of operation in Southern Nevada, the Division is studying various messaging, deployment, and enforcement options to ensure compliance with the new controls. The Division is working with the Nevada Department of Transportation and will coordinate ongoing efforts to ensure sustained and effective enforcement within the HOV system.
While some drivers expressed support for the reduced hours of enforcement, others, like David Gleason, fear they will inversely increase the commute they make weekly.
“I got a three-year-old, my wife, it helps a bunch,” Gleason said outside a central-valley gas station Tuesday morning. “Now it’s just going to get backed up a lot.”
NDOT said they are unable to comment on how the new hours will impact traffic until the ongoing study concludes.
While digital and physical HOV signs are adjusted, Hopkins ensures the new enforcement period is now active. All proper signage, including over 50 new signs made in Reno and delivered to Las Vegas on Monday, should be implemented by next week, he added.
Additionally, drivers are still not allowed to cross the double white lines that border the HOV lanes. More information on the HOV system in Nevada can be found on NDOT’s website.