Out of Control Policy Blog

When is a carpool viable?

In November I pointed to a story about a woman who got ticketed for a carpool lane violation. She claimed that she did have two people in the car because she was pregnant. She challenged the ticket, and now we learn that she's lost:

    Unborn children don't count when it comes to carpool lanes, according to a judge's ruling.

    Even after being fined $367 for improper use of a High Occupancy Vehicle lane, Ahwatukee Foothills resident Candace Dickinson stood by her contention that Arizona traffic laws don't define what a person is, so the child inside her womb justified her use of the lane.

    "To follow her philosophy would require officers to carry guns, radios and pregnancy testers, and I don't think we want to go there," said Sgt. Dave Norton, the Phoenix police officer who cited Dickinson on Nov. 8.

I get the pregnancy tester part, but guns and radios? Don't cops already carry those? The confusion continues:

    The case set off a firestorm of opinion but Phoenix Municipal Court Judge Dennis Freeman used a "common sense" definition in which an individual occupies a "separate and distinct" space in a vehicle.

    "The law is meant to fill empty space in a vehicle," Freeman said.

Not exactly. Carpool lanes were supposed to take cars off the road by increasing vehicle occupancies. But as Bob Poole and I note in this study, carpools just aren't very good at doing this.

One other bit of confusion. In the original article from November Dickinson mentioned that her unborn child was in her stomach. Hmmm.

Ted Balaker is Producer


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