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Re: Towing from Car Pool Lanes


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File this citation under, "CS". California has car pool lanes as do most states. Vehicle Code Section 21655.5 is California's statute that makes it. "unlawful for a person to drive in a carpool lane with no passenger". 


Scenario:  A tow operator got a ticket because he responded to a carpool lane request and he was alone in his carrier when he got to the customer. The customer was already there waiting with his with wife in another car. The disabled car was loaded and off they went with the husband and wife in the forward car and the carrier operator following them. Along came a Sheriff and pulled the carrier over where the tow operator was cited for the, "two or more passenger", section.  While the highway patrol is generally understanding that this does happen, along comes the city police or the Sheriff's department who writes the citation because they only see the letter of the law. Some officers, "double section cite", CVC 22348 (c) improper use of designated lanes because of the sign's wording that prohibits, "no towing", or no commercial vehicles in carpool lanes.


To back your driver's actions, does your company have any procedures in-place to justify the tow operator's response and avoid a citation? Having had drivers who've been cited for this before, I make three recommendations to guide response in carpool lane scenarios based on California law; your state laws may be similar or different:


1.    Where possible, if the vehicle's owner or its driver isn’t at the disabled vehicle’s location, send your driver to the customer’s location and pick them-up        prior going to into carpool lanes


2.    When you’re at the carpool location and customer is with you, someone should ride with you, or


3.    At the moment your driver is dispatched, have your company's dispatch call the HP and ask for authorization. When that call is made; advise the HP         that your company is sending a truck to a location within the carpool lanes. Ask if they can dispatch a unit to your location? 


4.    Ask for any instructions and listen carefully as to what's being told to you; react accordingly and pass that info to your driver


Accordingly, the HP might send a unit, or, most likely, won't have a unit available. If no unit is available, ask the HP’s dispatcher for an incident or dispatch number, or, at the very least, ask for the dispatcher's name or ID number. These info snippets should be added to the (dispatch) call notes.  If the tower is cited, this information is necessary in defending your company's actions.  Carpool tickets can cost upwards of $500 and add a point to a driver's point count. Towers can't afford to be guilty of this practice, so having a plan is helpful. What procedures does your company have in-place?       R

Edited by rreschran

Randall C. Resch

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