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AB-1535 Vehicles: high-occupancy vehicle lanes.(2011-2012)

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AB1535:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 14, 2012

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2011–2012 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1535


Introduced  by  Assembly Member Halderman
(Coauthor(s): Assembly Member Jeffries)

January 24, 2012


An act to amend Section 21655.5 of the Vehicle Code, relating to transportation vehicles.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1535, as amended, Halderman. Highway signs: high occupancy vehicle lanes. Vehicles: high-occupancy vehicle lanes.
Existing law directs the Department of Transportation and certain local authorities to erect and maintain signage along state and county highways that designate certain traffic lanes as high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes and specify conditions for their use.
This bill would require the department or a local authority, when replacing signs designating HOV lane use in an area that permits motorcycles to use those lanes, to include language on the new sign stating that motorcycles are permitted in the HOV lanes.
Because this bill would increase the duties of local authorities, it would create a state-mandated local program.
 The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these statutory provisions.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 21655.5 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

21655.5.
 (a) The Department of Transportation and local authorities, with respect to highways under their respective jurisdictions, may authorize or permit exclusive or preferential use of highway lanes for high-occupancy vehicles. Prior to establishing the lanes, competent engineering estimates shall be made of the effect of the lanes on safety, congestion, and highway capacity.
(b) (1) The Department of Transportation and local authorities, with respect to highways under their respective jurisdictions, shall place and maintain, or cause to be placed and maintained, signs and other official traffic control devices to designate the exclusive or preferential lanes, to advise motorists of the applicable vehicle occupancy levels, and, except where ramp metering and bypass lanes are regulated with the activation of traffic signals, to advise motorists of the hours of high-occupancy vehicle usage. No A person shall not drive a vehicle upon those lanes except in conformity with the instructions imparted by the official traffic control devices. A motorcycle, a mass transit vehicle, or a paratransit vehicle that is clearly and identifiably marked on all sides of the vehicle with the name of the paratransit provider may be operated upon those exclusive or preferential use lanes unless specifically prohibited by a traffic control device.
(2) The department or a local authority, when if replacing a sign designating high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane usage in an area that permits motorcycles to use the HOV lane, shall include language on the new sign indicating that motorcycles are permitted to use the HOV lane.
(c) When responding to an existing emergency or breakdown in which a mass transit vehicle is blocking an exclusive or preferential use lane, a clearly marked mass transit vehicle, mass transit supervisor’s vehicle, or mass transit maintenance vehicle that is responding to the emergency or breakdown may be operated in the segment of the exclusive or preferential use lane being blocked by the mass transit vehicle, regardless of the number of persons in the vehicle responding to the emergency or breakdown, if both vehicles are owned or operated by the same agency, and that agency provides public mass transit services.
(d) For purposes of this section, a “paratransit vehicle” is has the same meaning as that term is defined in Section 462.
(e) For purposes of this section, a “mass transit vehicle” means a transit bus regularly used to transport paying passengers in mass transit service.
(f) It is the intent of the Legislature, in amending this section, to stimulate and encourage the development of ways and means of relieving traffic congestion on California highways and, at the same time, to encourage individual citizens to pool their vehicular resources and thereby conserve fuel and lessen emission of air pollutants.
(g) The provisions of this section regarding mass transit vehicles and paratransit vehicles shall only apply if the Director of Transportation determines that the application will not subject the state to a reduction in the amount of federal aid for highways.

SEC. 2.

  If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.