Q I live in the Almaden Valley and commute to Dublin, so I visit Almaden Expressway, the Highway 85 south flyover to 87, then the 280-680 grind daily. My issue is the sheer number of carpool lane violators.

To all of you cheaters out there: We see you with the right-side visor down, the right-side headrest up about two notches, and your ignoring our stares. One recent morning's count, there were 19 cars with passengers and 11 without at one ramp. I see the same cars about the same time doing the same thing day in and day out.

Michael McLean

San Jose

A Carpool cheating is rampant in the Bay Area. You know it, I know it and state officials know it.

Q Wouldn't it be a great idea if the state could put up cameras to operate in the HOV lanes? This would take the pressure off of having to spend man-hours trying to catch sneaky drivers. "Smile -- you're on HOV camera!"

Karen Knoblaugh

San Jose

A And it may happen. Infrared cameras may be tested on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and possibly the Golden Gate Bridge in the next few years. If successful, the cameras could be used to detect how many people are inside a vehicle.

Q How bad is carpool cheating in Southern California? Is it as bad as it is here?

David Bedno

San Jose

A There are so many more carpool lanes in Southern California that a region-by-region comparison is difficult. But state officials believe violation rates are lower down south for a couple of reasons: Carpool lanes in the Los Angeles area operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so there's less confusion about the hours of operation. And there is limited access into and out of almost all carpool lanes down there, and these lanes are set off by double white lines. While a carpool ticket is not a moving violation, crossing the double stripes is a moving violation, which discourages people from weaving in and out.

As more carpool lanes in the Bay Area are converted to toll lanes, the number of exit and entrance locations will be limited, as is the case on I-680 through Fremont and at the 237-880 interchange in Milpitas. That should reduce the number of carpool cheats.

Q You recently mentioned the Washington state carpool hotline to report cheaters. I grew up in Seattle and was always curious if this hotline was actually effective. Do you have any statistics?

Katherine Zak

A Violation rates average less than 5 percent statewide in Washington, one of the lowest rates in the nation and about half the rate on many roads in California. From 2009 to 2011, the Seattle hotline recorded more than 57,000 carpool violations. Less than 5 percent of violators were reported a second time, and fewer than 2 percent were reported three or more times.

A monthly report of high violation locations is sent to the Washington State Patrol so they can monitor those areas to deter violators. This led to more than 8,000 tickets being issued in those areas.

Q I just picked up my brand-new Chevy Volt and I have to say I love the drive, features and of course the "mpg" (no more Prius envy here!). The only thing I can ask for now is my HOV lane stickers. They say it will take about two weeks. Am I allowed to drive in the carpool lane until I get them, since I have a qualifying vehicle? If not, and I decide to anyway, will it just end up being a fix-it ticket similar to not having your proof of registration or insurance available when getting pulled over, or will it be a full-blown carpool lane violation?

I know. Two weeks isn't long for two years of carpool lane bliss, but I just can't wait!

Natalie Mathison

San Jose

A But wait you must. You need carpool stickers to drive in the diamond lane with your new Volt. Without them, you could get a carpool ticket and that fine would be around $450-plus.

Look for Gary at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at mrroadshow@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5335.