People have been trying to beat the High-Occupancy Lane rules since the light-traffic stretches of pavement were introduced, conniving all sorts of wacky 'carpooling' schemes to try and get in front of the gridlock on their commute.
According to the LA Times
, the latest trick tried Stateside involved counting a corpse in a casket in the back of a hearse as a 'passenger,' even if their destination may be a little more final.
Travis Smaka of the Nevada Highway Patrol apparently pulled over a black Chrysler minivan July 1 that appeared to only have one person sitting in the front, without a passenger, zipping down the HOV.
Smaka asked for the driver's license and registration, and then for an explanation as to how exactly he qualified for carpool-lane use; the driver nodded and motioned to the back of the van.
'Oh, you have a deceased in the back?' the trooper replied. He did. Then the trooper had to tell the mortuary driver that, well, corpses don't count.
'Yes, it's a person, but they're not in a seat and they're not living and breathing,' another trooper, Jason Buratczuk, told the Times
. 'What if the dead were in the passenger seat?' quizzed the reporter on the story. Buratczuk shot back: 'Then the HOV violation is the least of your concerns.'
Today we stopped a local funereal home hearse in the HOV lane. The driver had the dearly departed in the back, he thought the deceased could be counted as two people. I guess we should clarify this, living, breathing people count for the HOV lane. The driver was given a warning pic.twitter.com/OQms0ktl8t
— NHP Southern Command (@NHPSouthernComm) July 1, 2019
HOV lane enforcement is being tightened up in Nevada, the newspaper reports, and now carries a fine of US$250; monitoring now occurs all day, not just during morning and evening rush hour.
High-Occupancy Vehicle lanes are made to decrease fossil fuel usage and pollution by reducing the number of cars on the roads. If your passengers are instead on their way to becoming fossil fuels themselves? We're afraid you might just have to wait in traffic with the rest of the pre-deceased.
Smaka ended up letting the hearse driver off with a warning. Smaka's answer when the driver insisted he had a 'passenger' on board? 'He's not with us anymore.'