Using CA HOV lane without decal?

So what's the consensus? I just got my car, will have to wait 6 weeks for plates, then I can apply for HOV stickers which will probably also take 6 weeks. Can I chance using the HOV lanes now with a single occupant, or do I wait?

you can chance it when the HOV lane is also an express lane requiring fast trak payment or 2 passengers. you can do this because if you have a fast track and know that it doesnt work through the windshield if you get pulled over you can say that your fast track is right here and officer will think its a mechanical issue keeping you from the ticket

Anyone know what the policy is for out of state drivers? Is there a temporary pass or can I just use it?

No accommodation for out-of-state visitors. You need to apply for a sticker from the CA DMV after you get CA registration. That's a nice idea though. It would require coordination between all the state DMVs across the country. I don't see that happening ever.

I've owned the car for 3 months and still don't have the decals. In Mid January DMV rejected my application by claiming that my address is not correct when in fact it was and is correct. I reapplied but have heard nothing. No way to call them either. DMV put me on hold for one hour only to tell me that department does not accept phone calls! How is that for customer service?

I think I would wait for the sticker. The fine for violation is $481 minimum. That seems a little steep for a few minutes saved.

The first day after we got our shiny new Tesla my wife and I decided to go through the HOV lane onto the Bay Bridge without the stickers because we were feeling lucky. Indeed we were lucky and it was smooth sailing. After that I read here and in other forums that the CHP can and will issue tickets for not having the stickers. Now we are waiting and picking up a third passenger for our morning commute in the meantime. Our fellow carpoolers don't seem to mind at all.

@shop - Your title will come direct from DMV and will have your plate number. You can apply for the HOV decals then. Your plates and registration will come by Fedex from TM, once they receive them from DMV. Lord only knows why it's done that way in CA. I took delivery on
December 23. Title came on January 4. The form used to apply for the decals, CA reg1000, is a fillable form which you could download now, fill in all but the plate number, and then save. My HOV decals took about 8 weeks to arrive.

Separate note: Don't forget to apply for your California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project $$$ :)


I'm confused as to why you need a third passenger or is that simply a choice? In San Diego, you simply need two people in the car. At least that has always been my impression. Someone please enlighten me if I am incorrect.

@stevenmaifer, off topic, but my phone issue completely fixed, took repeated repeated perserverance, numerous calls, and finally on the second visit to service center they got the engineers from Tesla to determine that the bluetooth antenna should be swapped out. Had nothing to do with my phone itself. (I think it was you who tried to help me before)

With DMV we can't even get to a human being to tell us where our application is for decals.

@sancann - Snippet from Bay Area Toll Authority FAQ: "Any 2-axle vehicle, without trailer(s), carrying three or more persons, may cross in designated carpool lane(s) ...".

@Hills - That's great news!

In the bay area, many HOV lanes only require 2 people for use, but on some of the busier freeways, the requirement is 3.

Just to clarify - the "three or more" applies to bridges only. Regular HOV lanes are just two or more.

Sidney, that is not entirely correct. The HOV lanes on Highway 80 east and west require three passengers whether or not you are going to cross any of the bridges.

I-80 and 880 have fairly extensive stretches that are 3 or more, at least last time we were there, and according to

Anyone still debating on whether to put the sticker on or not?

I've put my 2 larger stickers in the small windows behind the rear seats. They are easily visible from the sides. I haven't had a problem yet, but I've yet to see a CHP when I'm in the carpool lane. I heard that roadster owners have 'put them in the window' without any problem.

@lalo, yes...

I too just applied for stickers but don't want to spoil my finish, or out-of-state resale value for temporary stickers. I heard they are impossible to remove. Was thinking about putting them in the window, but consider that risky. I would assume if you get pulled over there's a 50% chance they would let you off, but make you put the stickers on.

Anyone get pulled over with stickers in the window yet? And is that "in" the windows or "on" the window?

You can get scraps of paint armor, stick the HOV stickers to them and trim off the excess paint armor.

You can now stick it to your car but know that it can be removed without damaging your paint.

Where could one get scraps of paint armor? Will the HOV stickers ruin the paint if we try to remove it?

Dammit, I have the dark blue car, and it's gonna kill me to put that ugly crap on my new car. It's not just that. I have never every had a bumper sticker or window sticker on any of my cars.

I might just drive in the slow lane.

It would be nice if we had a sticker on the plate, but I think the purpose of the big uglys is to show other commuters that we have the right to be in the lane. If we are not visiably tagged, folks might assume the carpool lane is a free-for-all. Dammed shame, actualy.

The second question I meant if applied without the paint armor.

Would be nice if there were a panel in the bumper area that could be flipped over (James Bond style) with a push of a button. HOV sticker on one side to show when needed.

It is my recollection that the 3 passenger requirement on I-80 was a condition the wonderful town of "Berserkely" (Berkeley) demanded in exchange for allowing I-80 to be widened in the Berkeley section. Typical.

qphan7, depending where you live you can look for local installers. 3M, Xpel are common brands, their websites list installers by city. Call them up and explain your situation. Worst case, you can buy a roll of the stuff online. I see it for $10 - $20 per roll. Just be sure to measure the stickers so they will fit.

As far as installation, not quite peel 'n stick (need soapy water & squeegee). So they might offer to install for a small fee too.

I'm getting paint armor done next week. I'll ask about what they charge and in my case if sticking paint armor over paint armor is a good idea.

@hills: After some patience and perseverance, I found a number to call that a very nice lady will answer. The only information she can give you, however, is the receive date of those applications in process. The number is 916.657.8035 and its a direct line. FYI, I sent my application by FedEX so I would know the exact date it was received (January 16), the $8 check was cashed on February 28. Figure a minimum of 6 - 8 weeks. - I got the HOV decals for both my MS and my Leaf. Two separate submissions 4 months apart. They both came within a week of the checks being cashed.

My timing was nearly the same as stevenmaifert's - title came within 2 weeks and applied for the stickers then - that took nearly 8 weeks to then get them in the mail. Have the 3M paint Bra film and plan to attach the stickers tomorrow in time for the Monday AM commute.

qphan7 - if you're in the bay area, happy to provide you with sufficient 3M film for your car. have 48 inches and it will only take a few for mine. can be reached at TMC under the same userid or at jjaeger707 -at-

Thanks for the offer but I live in Orange County!

The USPS would suffice to share the shield!

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