Prior to 2005, California never had to worry about Federal interference with their HOV lanes. But by allowing hybrid cars sol access into the HOV lanes in late 2005, California became subject to the Federal Transportation Act. And since minimum speeds are dropping below 45 mph more than 10 percent of the time the Federal Highway Transportation has informed the California Dept of Transportation they are out of compliance.
The California Transportation officials are currently looking into several strategies for dealing with the issues. These include:
- Adjusting hours for car-pool requirements,
- allowing continuous access,
- limiting hybrid access on congested freeways,
- and stepping up CHiPs enforcement.
According to Tamie McGowen, a Caltrans spokeswoman in Sacramento, hybrids are not to blame for the congestion.
"The increasing population is a huge factor in this," she said. "And the bottom line is that the number of vehicle miles traveled is increasing faster than the population."
Source: State tries to free up car-pool lanes - North County Times