In addition to other law enforcement agencies, the Georgia Department of Public Safety is authorized to enforce HOV lane restrictions designated by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).
HOV Lanes first opened in Atlanta on December 14, 1994, 18 lane miles on I-20 from Downtown to I-285.
In 1996, 60 additional lane miles opened on I-75 and I-85. Another 23.6 lane miles opened on I-85 in Gwinnett County on October 31, 2001.
Per O.C.G.A. § 32-9-4, GDOT may designate travel lanes of the state highway system for the exclusive or preferential use of:
- Passenger vehicles occupied by two persons or more;
- Vehicles bearing alternative fueled vehicle license plates issued under paragraph (5) of subsection (a) of O.C.G.A. § 40-2-38 or paragraph (7) of subsection (I) of § 40-2-86.1; or
- Other vehicles as designated by GDOT.
Persons who violate the HOV lane law are guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable under Code Section § 40-6-54.
Fines and penalties for HOV violations:
- First Offense: $75.00 maximum (plus court fees)
- Second Offense: $100.00 maximum (plus court fees)
- Third Offense: $150.00 maximum (plus court fees)
- Fourth Offense: $150.00 maximum (plus court fees), and one point on the driver's record.
Left-side entrance and exit ramps to or from the HOV Lanes are also included in the restrictions.