MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — New technology is going into the Interstate 77 toll lanes to crack down on those trying to ride for free.
Cars with three or more people can use the express lanes for free as high-occupancy vehicles, but some people are violating that rule.
In October, the highway patrol said it saw a major spike in the number of drivers sneaking into the express lanes, claiming they’re carpooling.
Those drivers are switching their transponders into HOV mode without having extra passengers.
“You not only need one other person, you need two other persons in the vehicle to declare yourself that high occupancy vehicle," said Ray Pierce with the North Carolina Highway Patrol.
The express lanes will be adding a new camera technology to determine the number of people in the car. They’ll compare those images to the setting on the car’s transponder.
“I honestly would have thought there were cameras already,” said driver Kristen Cella.
I-77 Mobility Partners said facial mages captured will automatically be blurred by the cameras for privacy purposes.
They also said law enforcement will continue to patrol the lanes.
Officials said the cameras still need to be installed, and then there will be a testing phase.
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