Automobile Accidents in Puget Sound HOV Lanes
Washington has experimented with HOV—or, high occupancy vehicle—lane implementation throughout Puget Sound for more than 40 years. The effort has largely been seen as a success among motorists, as it has improved freeway efficiency and predictability, decreased freeway congestion, and cut back on greenhouse gas emissions. But, as studies have revealed, HOV lane use carries a high risk of sideswipe and rear-end collisions.
Because HOV lane accidents often occur at highway speeds, they tend to be severe. For victims, the injuries can be significant. It is important to consult an experienced accident attorney if your or someone you love has been injured in an HOV lane accident. An attorney can help you determine what legal options are available to you. Mark A. Hammer & Associates, Inc., has more than 30 years of experience helping traffic accident victims recover for their injuries.
Inherent Dangers of HOV Lanes in Western Washington
Recent studies have shown that motorist conduct consistent with the HOV lane’s underlying purpose—to move more traffic at a faster pace—actually contributes to automobile accidents on the freeway. Traffic in HOV lanes can travel upwards of 35 miles per hour faster than in regular lanes. Vehicles trying to merge into the faster moving HOV lane from the slower general traffic lane, and vice versa, face a significant risk of rear-end collision.
Another risk associated with HOV lanes is the lack of space on either side of the lane for maneuvering. The HOV lane is blocked on the left side by the center divide, and on the right side by a wall of traffic at peak congestion hours. Vehicles in the HOV lane are left with little room at all to avoid colliding with slower moving vehicles that merge into and out of the lane.
The heightened risk for rear-end collisions, and the lack of space to avoid colliding with other vehicles, leaves HOV lanes exceedingly dangerous for motorists. To make matters worse, Washington is considering allowing single passenger vehicles to use the HOV lanes for a small toll fee. With the implementation of this new toll policy, accident injury attorneys know HOV lanes can only become more dangerous to motorists.
Reliable Legal Help is Important to Accident Recovery
It is critical to speak with a Puget Sound accident attorney in HOV lane accident cases. Many Washington drivers are uninsured or underinsured—an issue noted in our uninsured motorists FAQs. Without proper legal representation, the heightened risk of accident and injury in these cases could mean uncompensated losses. Some victims are not even sure of their right to recovery. Our FAQs for injured immigrants highlights the uncertainty of documented and undocumented immigrants with whether they can seek compensation. Consulting an attorney is important to understand your ability to recover.