Rep. Mike Sparks Talks About HOV Lane Violators

Picture yourself driving down I-24. Have you ever seen a car being pulled over from the HOV lane? Neither have we and Representative Mike Sparks has something to say about that.

Carissa Biele took Sparks for a spin through Downtown Nashville to discuss his HOV lane passion, past writing endeavor, “How To Do More With Less During Tough Times,” and support for innovations like Hytch.

Sparks has taken quite an interest in the happenings of the HOV lane this year, estimating a violation rate upwards of 90%. These violators include his fellow Tennessee legislators that Sparks himself has passed on the commute to the Capital. He has gone on numerous campaigns to advocate the enforcement of HOV lane laws, even addressing the House floor. Nevertheless, few who hear his message actually act on their inspiration. Hytch listened and went directly to Sparks.

“Mark Cleveland and Hytch are the only lobbyists that approached me about something innovative that benefits the taxpayers, not costing the taxpayers. What I like about Hytch and what y’all are doing, you’re doing something that’s benefiting those who need some help.”

Rep. Sparks put his knowledge of these traffic laws to the test for a BeanBoozled challenge with Biele. Although he had to eat a few beans, Sparks discovered he couldn’t differentiate strawberry-banana from dead fish (clearly an unfair advantage).

Sparks believes that Hytch is a viable solution to the traffic crisis in Nashville. Next time you are driving to Nashville, remember to obey those HOV lane laws because Representative Sparks is on the move.


  1. Get rid of Sparks if he has nothing better to do!
    90% of drivers ignore the HOV lane – doesn’t that say anything to you about it’s stupidity?
    Low emission vehicles exempted???
    What exactly is the HOV purpose? Environmental? Or over-reaching government out to protect us from ourselves?
    Get rid of the HOV lanes!
    Start enforcing slow drivers that are clogging the 3rd & 4th lanes and leaving 1/4 mile gaps between them and the next car in front of them. Enforce the no trucks in the left hand lanes.
    Let’s focus on making traffic flow.

  2. It’s about contracts between the people and their governments, between the Federal and State governments. It’s about the law. There are three and sometimes four full lanes of law abiding citizens in their proper lane during rush hour. Where do you find yourself?

    There is one lane that is not being respected for its intended use and there is little enforcement, so many people just drive in it, knowingly violating the law. If you read all these articles, you can see “what exactly is the HOV purpose” = to create an incentives for multiple people in a vehicle (bus or carpool) and the electric vehicle exemption (as well as the motorcycle exemption) is an incentive too – intended to be positive influences on YOUR clean air. A reserved lane is an incentive for two or more people to go the trouble to NOT bring two or more cars to the road.

    In 2016 the State of Tennessee passed a “slow poke” law which gives THP the authority to pull over someone who is not moving with the flow of traffic. I can’t say if there is enforcement there either, but I can suggest that trucks that violate any laws on the highway are subject to much higher levels of enforcement. And you NEVER see one of them in the HOV lane at rush hour…

    Lastly, offering a little known fact but a fact nonetheless… Tennessee can’t “get rid of the HOV lanes” because the state of Tennessee would immediately owe the Federal Government more that $50,000,000 — to be returned by contract — if we just take HOV out of service. That makes for a great declarative statement, but it’s nonsense.

    Because of our obviously pathetic level of respect for the lane as drivers, and statistics that prove Tennessee has the worst enforcement track record in the country for a decade or more, we as taxpayers in Tennessee are at risk TODAY of having the FHWA enter a “finding” based on data that TDOT submits every year to FHWA which demonstrates compliance with the agreement… or in our case – high violation rates – and this administrative decision (a finding) that Tennessee is in fact in violation of the HOV lane funding agreements in place, is a bad thing. The results of that “finding” would put $822 million dollars of federally funded road improvement projects at risk and requires YOU and ME and everyone reading these articles to help fund a $50,000,000 refund check.

    The best argument for traffic flow, if that’s your objective, is by Malcom Getz, who suggests we put toll systems on the road and assess congestion pricing. Are you ready to pay for your drive and the privilege of driving faster?

    Education, information, sane conversation and more thoughtful contributions to this discussion are important. The HOV lanes will work as intended, like they do EVERYWHERE else except Tennessee, as soon as attitudes align – with a carrot or a stick – we need leaders like Mike Sparks who are this brave to talk about problems we create for ourselves and transportation solutions that can be acted on today – which we can afford.

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