If you're confused about those new double white lines next to the carpool lane in California, you are not alone.
People Understand Not to Cross Over Double Yellow Lines, But What About Double White Lines?
Most people clearly understand that it is illegal to cross over double yellow lines per California Vehicle Code Section 21460 (a): "If double parallel solid yellow lines are in place, a person driving a vehicle shall not drive to the left of the lines, except as permitted in this section." One exception would be if you are "turning to the left at an intersection or into or out of a driveway or private road..." (California Vehicle Code Section 21460 (d)(1))
But the new white lines have people confused. So can you cross over the white lines?
No, You Cannot Legally Cross Over the Double White Lines
California Vehicle Code Section 21460 (b) makes it clear that you cannot cross over the double white lines. (b) If double parallel solid white lines are in place, a person driving a vehicle shall not cross any part of those double solid white lines, except as permitted in this section or Section 21655.8.
(a) Except as required under subdivision (b), when exclusive or preferential use lanes for high-occupancy vehicles are established pursuant to Section 21655.5 and double parallel solid lines are in place to the right thereof, no person driving a vehicle may cross over these double lines to enter into or exit from the exclusive or preferential use lanes, and entrance or exit may be made only in areas designated for these purposes or where a single broken line is in place to the right of the exclusive or preferential use lanes.
You Can Only Cross Over the Double White Lines When An Emergency Vehicle Is Coming
(b) Upon the approach of an authorized emergency vehicle displaying a red light or siren, as specified in Section 21806, a person driving a vehicle in an exclusive or preferential use lane shall exit that lane immediately upon determining that the exit can be accomplished with reasonable safety
So Why Did The California Department of Transportation Make the Change to White?
Many carpool or HOV lanes had double yellow lines painted beside them to make it clear that no one should enter or exit the carpool lane. Cal Trans started making the change back in 2010 in order to comply with the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). The change is obviously still happening and I imagine it will be an ongoing project for years to come.
So make sure that you enter and exit the carpool lane where there are broken white lines and you'll keep yourself from breaking the law and hopefully keep yourself safe.