Bremerton drivers beware: Cops keep an eye on those carpool lanes

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Bremerton police nabbed 24 drivers in just over an hour for driving solo in the HOV lane. Photo by Bremerton police.

Bremerton police officers made a curious discovery last Thursday while patrolling the carpool lanes on Navy Yard Highway. As they peered into one of the cars they stopped, they noticed the driver, alone, had a carseat riding shotgun, with a blanket over it.    

And they found this not once, but twice, after only an hour and 15 minutes of patrolling.

In total, five officers trolled the carpool, or High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane, on Highway 304 between 3:45-5 p.m. The officers sat in traffic and watched for cars to go by in the carpool lane that looked like they had only one occupant. The HOV violations added up quickly, and by the time it was over, 24 tickets had been written.

“There are few traffic violations that make peoples’ blood boil more than High Occupancy Vehicle lane violations,” Bremerton Police Chief Steve Strachan wrote in his weekly update. “While traffic is backed up and stop-and-go for people following the law, drivers by themselves in the HOV lane go flying by, effectively saying to everyone else that their time is simply more important than yours.”

Strachan also noted that by their presence, traffic actually moved more smoothly as less cars moved along the HOV lane.

And it won’t be the last time police will be out there.

“We will be doing this again,” Strachan wrote. “The word will start to get around.”

8 thoughts on “Bremerton drivers beware: Cops keep an eye on those carpool lanes

  1. Here’s another thing that could make drivers more careful and add to the revenue stream: issue citations for cellphone use. A good place to start would be on the approaches to the Mannette Bridge. I’d wager every other driver has a phone in their ear as they negotiate the turns.

  2. Wow ~ cannot believe this has finally happened. After 3 years of watching this abuse day after day after day they have finally caught 24 people! Imagine if this happened every day ~ I can’t even count that high!!

  3. Even funnier is Bremerton advertising their illegal police car, according to this rcw. 46-08-065 and the illegal license plate. Rcw 46.08.066

  4. Heck, have the police ride around in a taller delivery truck or van. You’ll see two-fisted texting, laptops in the driver’s lap, tablets on the steering column, newspapers held across the steering wheel, drivers holding a bowl of cereal in one hand with a spoon in the other, and many other death-defying actions. I doubt that most drivers know how distracted their fellow drivers are. When you see a woman texting with both hands at 60mph on the highway with two children in car seats, you ponder the potential outcome.

  5. Very happy to see them enforcing this. The WSP was running a check a few years back and I got flagged to pull over because they only saw me as a driver with no passenger in front. Of course when the officer came over to my vehicle I rolled down the tinted back seat window and had my Son in his car seat wave at the nice officer. The WSP patrolman gave me a thumbs up and quickly waved us on.

  6. Josh,
    I was partially wrong on the plates RCW. It, and the other RCW, were enacted to protect the public from “fake cops”. Police cars doing traffic enforcment should be marked, according to this statement from RCW 46.08.065

    This section shall not apply to vehicles of a sheriff’s office, local police department, or any vehicles used by local peace officers under public authority for special undercover or confidential investigative purposes

    Traffic enforcment is not one of these resons.

  7. Scott,

    Confidential plates can be used for “law enforcement purposes,” which includes traffic enforcement. This has long been the case. The state patrol regularly conducts undercover enforcement with its ADAT (aggressive driving apprehension team) and the county sheriff’s office has a few unmarked cars as well.

    If you think what they’re doing is illegal, though, I would definitely take that up with your Legislator!


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