SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — California Highway Patrol officers issued hundreds of citations during their “maximum enforcement period” on a 12-mile stretch of State Highway 99.

For this maximum enforcement period, the CHP partnered with Caltrans to help reduce carpool lane violators between Sacramento and Elk Grove. 

According to an officer from the CHP, officers issued over 200 citations to drivers who violated the High-Occupancy Lanes during commuting times. Officers also issued over 40 verbal warnings as well.

The campaign began on Sept. 19 and continued through Oct. 15 during weekday commute hours from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., and then from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

A representative from Caltrans told FOX40 that the maximum enforcement period was a deterrent to aware single occupancy drivers to not drive in HOV lanes during commuter hours.

Caltrans said that recent traffic counts reported that 47% of traffic violations on northbound Highway 99 and 35% of traffic violations on southbound Highway 99, were carpool lane violations.

Motorcycles, mass transit, and vehicles with two or more occupants are the only vehicles allowed to use HOV lanes during commuter hours. Certain plug-in hybrids, alternative fuel, and electric or other clean-air vehicles are also allowed to use the HOV lanes, no matter the number of occupants in the vehicle.

According to Caltrans, when drivers illegally use the HOV lanes during commuter hours it can increase congestion and slow traffic “below speeds accepted by the Federal Highway Administration.” The FHWA requires that traffic speeds in HOV lanes must be 45 mph or greater than 90% of the time during peak commute times.

If vehicles do not reach those speeds, the FHWA can designate the HOV lanes as degraded which could then lead Caltrans to modify the eligibility requirements of the current HOV lanes.