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HERO Program

Rear View of HOV Lane Small Report an HOV Violator
Call 1-877-764-HERO
Online Report form
Washington State Ferry
How the HERO program works with Washington State Ferries

Dispute a HERO Violation Report
Online Dispute form



The HERO program helps WSDOT educate HOV and HOT lane violators and ferry line cutters on the purpose, rules, and benefits of these freeway lanes and ferry lines. We started the program in 1984 as a way to encourage drivers to self-enforce HOV lane rules. It is now a nationally recognized program which has served as a role model for similar programs in other states. We expanded the program to include ferries in 2010.


How the HERO program works

Drivers can report HOV, HOT lane or ferry line violators online or by calling at 1-877-764-HERO. We will then mail educational materials about HOV, HOT lane and ferry line usage to the registered owner of the vehicle that was seen violating.

First-time HOV lane violators are sent an educational brochure. Second-time HOV lane violators are sent a letter from WSDOT. Third-time HOV lane violators are sent a letter from the Washington State Patrol .

First time ferry line violators are sent a letter from the Washington State Ferries (WSF). Second-time ferry line violators are send a letter from the Washington State Patrol (WSP).

Drivers who feel they have been mistakenly reported can fill out an online dispute violation form or call 1-877-764-HERO.


How the HERO program works with HOT lanes on SR 167

Solo drivers with a valid Good To Go! account and a properly mounted transponder are allowed to use the HOT lanes on SR 167 between Renton and Auburn. Vehicles with two or more people (including the driver) as well as buses, emergency vehicles, and motorcycles do not pay a toll and are not required to have a transponder, regardless of how many people they are carrying.

A concerned driver can call in a potential violator through the HERO program if they see a car using the SR 167 HOT lanes without a transponder or other riders. Learn the rules of the road when using the SR 167 HOT Lanes.


What the numbers look like


Violation Reports and Outreach, 2011 - 2012

Total number of license plate numbers reported to HERO 34,975
Total number of brochures mailed to drivers 28,471
Total number of letters mailed to drivers 1013
Average number of monthly phone calls to HERO 1038
Average number of monthly online reports to HERO 633

Above numbers are from Jan. 1, 2011 through Dec. 31, 2012

Violation Rates

National average Between 10 and 15 percent
WA average Between 1 and 7 percent
Repeat offenders Less than 5 percent

Targeted Enforcement Based on Your Reports

The HERO program helps us make the most of limited law enforcement resources. When large numbers of cheaters are reported at specific locations, we share the information with the Washington State Patrol to help them target enforcement emphasis. These are the current hot spots where we have received a high number of violation reports:

Current Hot Spots

Highway Location Direction
I-5 NE 175th Street (ramps) North and southbound
I-5 Reversible Express Lanes North and southbound
I-405 Downtown Bellevue North and southbound
I-405 Totem Lake North and southbound
I-405 Between SR 167 and I-90 North and southbound
SR 509 1st Avenue Bridge North and southbound
SR 520 At 84th and 92nd Avenues NE East and westbound
SR 520 Montlake Blvd. E East and westbound

Citations Issued by Washington State Patrol

HOV Violation Citations 2011 2012
Warnings 3041 3040
Tickets 8369 7359


How the HERO program works with Washington State Ferries

Drivers are expected to get into the ferry line at the end of the line. Drivers who use side streets to cut into an existing ferry line are violating the law.

A concerned driver can call in a potential violator through the HERO program if they see a car cutting into a ferry line.

Our current focus includes Clinton, Mukilteo, Kingston and Edmonds ferry terminals. But we will accept reports from all ferry terminals.

Here are the numbers by the seasons for 2012.

Ferry line cutters

Spring March-May Summer June-August
Fall
September-November
Winter
December-February
Mukilteo 122 231 117 53
Clinton 33 56 27 2
Edmonds 20 52 30 15
Kingston 8 31 10 3


How can I get more information?

For more information about the HERO program, see the HERO Common Questions page or contact us at HEROHOV@wsdot.wa.gov .


Updated March 2013