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Hit-and-run fatality raises HOV lane concerns

Driving on an Interstate highway is dangerous. More often than not, you see at least one accident in your travels. You may even be involved in one. Accidents happen for a multitude of reasons: distracted driving, road conditions, traffic congestion, semi truck instability, lane closures and reckless driving, just to name a few.

Interstate 405 in Culver City, Los Angeles County, was the scene of a hit-and-run fatality involving a 24-year-old motorcyclist riding in the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane. A driver, attempting to switch into the HOV lane, sideswiped the biker, sending him into the center divider wall. The driver of the car claims she did not see the motorcycle. The motorcyclist died five hours later from major head trauma.

The driver stopped to check on the biker, but she fled seconds before the police arrived. Several eyewitnesses, including a second injured biker, were able to identify the suspect. She was arrested.

Among other concerns, HOV lane rules are at issue in the case. In Northern California, the lanes are only restricted to high-occupancy vehicles from Monday to Friday during posted peak hours. Outside peak hours, other vehicles may use the lanes, a situation referred to as “part-time operation”. In Southern California, the HOV lanes are usually separated from other lanes by a buffer and restrict access full-time.

Misuse of HOV lanes rates a minimum fine of $490. HOV lanes are meant to reduce traffic on the roads, encouraging carpooling and reducing air pollution. However, according to a recent study on the lanes, researchers discovered sideswipe and rear-end collisions dominated the accident totals there by more than 90 percent.

Speak to a car injury lawyer if you have been in such an accident. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.