More than 1 out of every 10 drivers on I-85 HOT lanes are violators

9:23 AM, Mar 13, 2012   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- New numbers from the State Road and Tollway Authority show a little more than one tenth of the drivers in the I-85 Express Lanes commit some kind of violation.

That's more than the 8-percent violation rate for the Georgia 400 tolls.

Figures just released by the tollway authority show in the first four months of operation the I-85 High Occupancy Toll lanes generated $757,000 for the state.

On average, about 20 percent of the drivers using the HOT lanes legally avoid paying a toll.  Most of them qualify for toll exempt status because they're registered with the tollway authority and travel with three or more people in their vehicle.

However, another 12 percent are toll violators, according to SRTA spokeswoman Malika Reed Wilkins.

In February, roughly 12 percent of the 14,630 travelers in the toll lanes committed some kind of violation. That's down from an average of 25 percent between October and December when there was a grace period for violators.

Drivers who ride in the Express Lanes without a Peach Pass should now expect a bill in the mail. Each violation carries at lease a 25-dollar fine.

"Some days it's one right after the other," said Officer Thomas Bolomon, who patrols the I-85 HOT lanes for the Georgia Department of Public Safety. "Some days 50 cars can pass you without an alert."

Enforcement officers have infrared cameras mounted on their vehicles that read the tag numbers of cars in the HOT lanes. An alert tells an officer if a vehicle is registered for a free ride. If there are fewer than three people in the car, the officer knows he has a violator.

Drivers can violate toll regulations in several ways. Travelers must have a Peach Pass. There are also designated areas to enter and exit the lanes.

It's not yet known how much the state has made on violations.

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