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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.