AUSTIN - For those of you who drive on Mopac – you may have seen or been in a situation where the express lane came to a standstill.
If traffic is not moving at all, APD recommends staying put if you don't know what is going on.
"Wait for emergency vehicles to come up behind you," said Detective Patrick Oborski. "If you see an emergency vehicle behind you, you can either move over to get out of the way or you can move over those delineators if that's what's necessary."
If emergency vehicles are behind you – move to the shoulder. If there is no shoulder, safely and slowly cross the plastic white barriers into regular lanes.
"They're designed not to break off," said Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority Director of Community Relations Steve Pustelnyk. "They can take repeated hits without breaking off. But if you hit at a high speed, they do have the potential to scratch up your paint, and or potentially do damage to your car, depending on what part of the car you hit it with."
But again, Austin police said that is only if emergency vehicles are behind you or if there's clearly an accident or stalled vehicle.
Otherwise, crossing the barriers is a crime.
"It's a class C misdemeanor," said Detective Oborski.
That means you could pay up to $200 plus court costs.
But what about the toll fee? Will you be charged if there's an incident in the express lane?
"If traffic comes to a complete stop and the express lane is impassable, we will switch the lane to a closed condition," said Pustelnyk. "Anyone who is stuck in the lane at that time, will not have to pay a toll once the situation is identified and the closed sign goes up."
CTRMA said its electronic tolling booth will display "CLOSED" and you will not be tolled from the time of the accident.
The tolling authority said if you see a mistake on your bill, you can call your tag provider or pay by mail provider to dispute the bill.
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