86°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

HOV lane enforcement to ramp up in Las Vegas

If you’ve been driving around portions of Interstate 15 and U.S. Highway 95 and noticed that high occupancy vehicle lanes are not being policed, there’s a reason for that.

Though 24-hour-a-day regulations went into effect May 20 for the HOV lane system — which stretches from Silverado Ranch on I-15 in the south valley to Elkhorn Drive on U.S. 95 in the northwest valley — local law enforcement enacted a 30-day grace period during which authorities would not cite those breaking the new carpool lane rules.

Nevada Highway Patrol troopers can pull over motorists they observe breaking the rules, and if they do, they give them a verbal warning and alert them to the pending enforcement that kicks in June 20.

NHP doesn’t have a record of how many drivers have been warned about breaking HOV lane laws, but NHP spokesman Jason Buratczuk said HOV enforcement is not at the top of NHP’s priority list, as no tickets are being issued yet and there are other tasks to worry about.

“Getting to the injury crash or that property damage crash that’s blocking the roadway. Or debris that’s in a travel lane. Those are priorities to us,” Buratczuk said.

After the 30-day grace period ends June 20, NHP troopers are going to be working overtime to cite HOV lane violators, as NDOT, through Project Neon general contractor Kiewit Infrastructure West, will provide the department at least $10,000 to pay for concentrated effort on the new carpool lanes.

“There will be some heavy enforcement going on,” Buratczuk said.

Tony Illia, Nevada Department of Transportation spokesman, said the amount being provided to NHP for HOV lane enforcement could grow ahead of June 20 to allow for additional enforcement.

“We will consider augmenting it, based upon NHP feedback,” Illia said.

The carpool lanes aren’t anything new to NHP troopers, as they have been in use on a stretch of U.S. 95 in the valley for over a decade, with enforcement hours based on morning and afternoon weekday rush hour times, Buratczuk said.

“The only difference now is the 24-hour enforcement, which actually simplifies it for the public,” he said. “They don’t have to worry about if it’s a certain day or a certain time. They know it’s 24 hours a day and they need to be in compliance.”

At a Las Vegas City Council meeting last month, City Attorney Brad Jerbic said the city would reduce all carpool lane violation tickets to parking tickets and reduce the $250 fine associated with them significantly.

“The Nevada Highway Patrol is aware of the LV City Council’s opposition to the HOV lanes,” Buratczuk said. “The Nevada Highway Patrol does not engineer the roadways, and we don’t get involved in politics. Our troopers will enforce the rules of the road in accordance with Nevada Revised Statute.”

The NHP has a possible workaround to the city’s plan, as state regulations allow troopers to write a ticket to whatever court they choose, no matter what jurisdiction the violation occurs.

So, if a motorist gets an HOV ticket in Las Vegas’ jurisdiction, troopers could assign the ticket to Clark County’s jurisdiction, which would limit the city’s ability to reduce HOV tickets.

Buratczuk declined to say if that was in the NHP’s plan for HOV enforcement.

With the media blitz, presentations at council and commission meetings and signage across the freeway network, Buratczuk said there has been plenty of warning about the HOV lane regulations.

“Everyone should know by now what an HOV lane is and when you can and can’t use them,” he said.

NOTE: This story has been updated with new quotes from NHP spokesman Jason Buratczuk.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Local Videos
Bellagio Conservatory unveils Italian summer exhibit
The Bellagio's Conservatory & Botanical Gardens have opened the gates to its summer display. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Summer In Las Vegas
Summer In Las Vegas (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Train derails in Northern Nevada - VIDEO
A train carrying ammunition derailed near Wells in Northern Nevada on Wed., June 19, 2019, closing part of Interstate 80, authorities said. (Michael Lyday/Twitter)
Fire damages an office complex in central Las Vegas - VIDEO
A fire causes heavy damage to an office complex at 3900 Paradise Rd. in Las Vegas on June 17, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Crash closes Las Vegas Blvd. near Fremont Street
A vehicle fleeing police crashed in the area of Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard in downtown Las Vegas on Friday, June 7, 2019. (Courtesy Andy Herrera)
Clark County's third poet laureate
Heather Lang-Cassera, who will be Clark County's third poet laureate on June 1, is interviewed at the Writer's Block bookstore in Las Vegas, Friday, May 24, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
One dead, two critical in Henderson shooting
One person is dead and two juveniles are in critical condition after a Friday morning shooting in Henderson, police said. During a briefing at the scene on Friday, Lt. Kirk Moore said the preliminary investigation has revealed that this incident is likely narcotics-related.
A man whose wives were found dead 8 years apart under similar circumstances is denied bail - VIDEO
Alan Sylwester, the man suspected of killing his wife, was denied bail again Wednesday morning during his preliminary hearing in Henderson.
Chief deputy district attorney: “Justice was done” in child pornography case - VIDEO
Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney James Sweetin speaks with the media after the sentencing of Christopher Sena, the man who was found guilty in February of multiple counts of sexual assault with a minor, incest, use of a minor in the production of pornography, lewdness with a child younger than 14 and child abuse. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Spring Mountain horses don't mind the snow
Snowfall made a return to the Spring Mountains overnight, May 19, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Newly completed Project Neon HOV flyover ramp in the Spaghetti Bowl
The newly completed Project Neon HOV flyover ramp in the Spaghetti Bowl will open to traffic Monday morning, May 20, 2019, along with new HOV lanes on Interstate 15 and new HOV lane regulations on the HOV lanes on I-15 and U.S. Highway 95. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas, Clark County fire departments face off in burger eating challenge
Las Vegas City Fire Department battled Clark County Fire Department in a burger eating contest Thursday at a local Farmer Boys restaurant to raise money for the Southern Nevada Burn Foundation. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Courtyard Homeless Resource Center employees talk about their termination
Employees from the Courtyard Homeless Resource Center talk about their termination. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Highlights from the 2019 Helldorado Parade
The 2019 Helldorado Parade, which dates back 85 years, took place Saturday morning in downtown Las Vegas as part of the Las Vegas Days, formerly known as Helldorado Days, annual cowboy-themed event with a nod to the Wild West.
Clouds move across Las Vegas Valley (Michael Quine)
After record rainfall of nearly a half-inch soaked the Las Vegas Valley on Thursday evening, clouds cover the valley Friday morning with forecast for some additional rain.
Las Vegas rain tops annual average – in May
Las Vegas has now received more rainfall so far this year than the city sees in an entire average year. We’ve had 4.2 inches of rain through May 10th. The average amount for the whole year is 4.19 inches. (Harrison Keely/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Weather | Steady Rain Falls in Northwest Valley
A steady rain falls near U.S. 95 North and Ann Road in northwest Las Vegas on Thursday, May 9, 2019. (David Guzman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Navigate Project Neon road features
How to navigate a trio of newly opened Project Neon road features. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rain at Aviators ballpark
Rain at the Las Vegas Aviators Ballpark on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 (Jason Lilly)
Tropicana/I-15 Interchange
The planned $200 million project is slated to begin in 2022 and finish in 2024. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas kids court and Harry Potter
Fourth graders from Hickey Elementary School made their case against Harry Potter at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas on Friday. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Free genetic testing through the Healthy Nevada Project
Clark County residents will be able to receive free genetic testing through the Healthy Nevada Project this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Treasure hunting in Las Vegas
Sarah Collins considers herself a modern-day treasure hunter. As one of the co-owners of Main Street Peddlers Antique Mall, located in downtown Las Vegas, Collins is constantly looking for antique goods to sell in the store. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
May 2nd is James Holzhauer Day
Clark County Commission Chairman Marilyn Kirkpatrick presents “Jeopardy!” champ James Holzhauer with a proclamation and key to the Las Vegas Strip.
Linda Smith talks about her recently published book "Unwanted"
Linda Smith talks about her recently published book "Unwanted" in her home in Henderson, Wednesday, April 24, 2019. Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Asparagus harvesting at Gilcrease Orchard
Sixty acres of agricultural land in the the Las Vegas Valley offer a diverse choice of fruits and vegetables that consumers can select and pick themselves. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Thedrick Andres becomes Henderson Police Department acting chief
Henderson Police Department Acting Chief Thedrick Andres speaks about his goals in his new position at the Henderson Police headquarters, Monday, April 29, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rain near the Spaghetti Bowl in central Las Vegas
Rain and some hail fell in the Spaghetti Bowl in central Las Vegas on Monday, April 29, 2019. (Jim Prather/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hail, rain in Las Vegas Valley
Rain and hail in Southern Highlands southwest Las Vegas, Monday, April 29, 2019. (Caitie Lilly/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Formerly homeless veteran purchases her first home
Ana Martinez, a veteran who was homeless two years ago, walks into her Las Vegas home for the first time as a homeowner mindful of those who didn't make it back. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
THE LATEST
1 hurt in central Las Vegas shooting, police say

Police are investigating after someone was shot while walking near a central Las Vegas Valley intersection. Two men walked up and fired, and they escaped in a red, four-door sedan.