It’s Thanksgiving, and you’re driving to a relative’s house for turkey dinner. If you’re going by yourself, stay out of the car-pool lanes during car-pool hours.

Yes, car-pool lane hours are in effect Monday through Friday regardless if Thursday happens to be Thanksgiving or if another holiday falls on one of those days.

John Goodwin, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, said state regulations on car-pool lanes don’t differentiate between a work day and a holiday, so the hours are enforceable throughout the Bay Area on car-pool lanes.

But he said MTC leaves enforcement up to the CHP.

Officer Jon Sloat, spokesman for the local CHP, said that in some areas of the state car-pool lane signs might say “enforced mon-fri, sundays/holidays excluded.” But not here.

But Sloat noted, “Officers always have the discretion based on the circumstances, whether to issue a citation or not.”

And he added: “It is unlikely that an officer would write a carpool citation to someone on Christmas Day.”

This year, Christmas falls on a Sunday, but next year it’s on Tuesday (leap year). Let’s hope the CHP will be forgiving on Thanksgiving too.


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  1. Hasan

    Who wants to travel alone during the holdays anyway?

    November 21st, 2011 11:13 am

  2. Vincent

    It should be the same everywhere. Most carpool lanes in other counties excludes holidays. Too confusing to have some excluded and others not. I think this county has too many people to have carpool lanes unless they want to add a 4th.

    November 21st, 2011 11:34 am

  3. sheryl

    Whoopie! They don’t even enforce it on every other day.

    November 21st, 2011 12:33 pm


    sonoma county carpool lanes should be eliminated completely..TOTAL waste..very few people use them and half the ones that do are illegal and we all pay for it..way screwed

    November 21st, 2011 12:37 pm

  5. R. HONSA

    I just wish they would enforce it during a normal week ! Daily I sit in bumper to bumper traffic and watch car after car flying by in the diamond lane . Why they make these laws then don’t even make a weak attempt to enforce them is beyond me . Sonoma co. violaters alone would probably balance the state budget.

    November 21st, 2011 1:15 pm

  6. daryl

    “Officer discretion” menas cute chicks get a warning and dudes like me get $430.00 tickets.

    November 21st, 2011 1:37 pm

  7. Tammy

    I agree with THERIFFMASTER. They should do away with carpool lanes altogether. All of us paid the taxes to get that lane built and we should be able to use it anytime we want. This social engineering baloney needs to stop, NOW!

    November 21st, 2011 1:56 pm

  8. Road.Warrior

    Perhaps you’ll luck out and get a female officer. :)

    November 21st, 2011 1:56 pm

  9. lu

    thanks for sharing- I’d have never known!

    November 21st, 2011 2:08 pm

  10. Mike

    I think that anyone driving in a carpool lane with one person is wasting taxpayers money, and gas money. Why not share the ride and expenses. It means less cars on the road, and less traffic. But if everyone wants to ride in their own car, don’t complain about the traffic, because you’re the problem that is creating it.

    November 21st, 2011 2:38 pm

  11. LOQ

    I actually use the carpool lane for its intended purpose, alternating days driving with 2 other coworkers to get to work and back. And while carpooling would still be worth it to save gas/etc regardless, I think the incentive to carpool might be less for a lot of people if there was not a lane designated for it to save time. It does have it’s valid purpose.

    That said, I was extremely annoyed when they finally finished what seems like 10+ years of work from the RP->SR stretch only to have it locked to carpool-only use for most of the day. Certainly not what I wanted to see after suffering for years of terrible construction, only to be left with essentially still 2 lanes for most people.

    And as others have pointed out, since it is not enforced well, you have plenty of ‘cheaters’ making law-abiding people pissed off. Seems like it should either be removed completely or actually enforced better.

    November 21st, 2011 3:19 pm

  12. Capttan Kona

    We should eliminate all fuel taxes and taxes associated with our roads and move to a complete toll road system.

    November 21st, 2011 3:32 pm

  13. Julie B

    I agree with Tammy and THERIFFMASTER! We as Sonoma County/Santa Rosa residents have already PAID FOR the commuter lane through our taxes. We should be allowed to USE THEM.

    Why have three lanes if you won’t allow people to use the third lane when they need it most??

    The city planners need to get their heads straight. Not many people in Santa Rosa commute together because not many co-workers live nearby each other!

    November 21st, 2011 3:53 pm

  14. Dar

    Carpool lanes are great if you’re using them (which my wife and I do every day). If you don’t like them then find someone to carpool with. I do agree that they should be much more heavily enforced though. They could issue tickets non-stop during carpool hours.

    November 21st, 2011 4:46 pm

  15. Steve E

    What a crock!! Carpool lanes are a enviro-whacko pipe dream! I cannot believe that I paid for the lanes and can’t use them when traffic is the worst! There are a lot of people who can’t abide by the carpooling model because they have jobs that don’t have set commute patterns – salespeople, contractors etc. Abolish carpool lanes!!

    November 21st, 2011 5:41 pm

  16. BA

    Sonoma county is much too spread out and rural for carpools lanes to be of use for 99% of residents. Occupy the carpool lanes.

    November 21st, 2011 6:04 pm

  17. Jay Dubya

    Let’s get real. The CHP is one of the last bastions of revenue for the formerly solvent State Of California. Sure, officers help at wrecks and are generally good guys. But when you see four CHP cars in a 4 mile stretch on 101 with their little radar guns, you’d have to be brain-dead to not know what’s going on.

    November 21st, 2011 7:12 pm

  18. Rex Faktor

    Unlimited access to the #1 lane should be via a registration surcharge and come with a special license plate sticker.

    I agree that the logic justifying their existence is rather questionable, but we’re stuck with the deal we made for the federal money…

    Seems like a legal oversight that HOV rules would apply on holidays…

    November 21st, 2011 7:13 pm

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