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Carpool lanes w/children

Having a child in your car to meet the HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) carpool lane requirement, while technically qualifies, violates the spirit of the regulation. HOV lanes were primarily established to reduce congestion plus other fuel consumption and pollution issues. To be within the spirit you should really have driving-aged persons in the car therefore taking what could be one or more additional vehicles off the road. In Virginia they exempted some hybrid cars to encourage the adoption of the fuel saving and lower polluting vehicles. Well, it worked. The state had to stop the program on some lanes since they were being clogged with Prii (plural of Prius).

I used to drive in HOV lane with my young children in the car - this was when NJ had HOV lanes on rt 80 (our Gov put the HOV signs up to get federal highway money, then after the road work was complete and the money gone, she took the signs down and refused to give the money back). I had no problem with the moral issue, as I was obeying the letter of the law. However, I did get pulled over by the police because to a trooper in his car, I looked like I was alone. I didn’t get tickets, but getting pulled over can negate the time saved by being in the HOV lane. I eventually had the children wave their hands over the heads as we drove past the regular cop-spots.

Car POOL lanes = pooling resources. How does driving with your own children in the car save any resources (your own or the collective earth resources such as oil/air quality etc.)? The idea is to encourage drivers to have fewer vehicles on the road by leaving one or more cars home. I can’t believe Tom and Ray are so obtuse as to miss that one. The more vehicles in those HOV lanes, the less beneficial they are. Don’t clog it up if you haven’t saved the earth at least one other car off the road!!

This HOV “moral issue” makes me think of a similar one: is it morally right for a driver to take advantage of a handicapped sticker when the handicapped person is not in the car? A recent story made national news: the police in Washington, DC, “lost” a Lexus they had moved because it was near a site where Pres. Obama was speaking. The news angle slammed the DC police, without judgment against the driver, fully-abled, who parked (legally) in the handicapped spot next to the convention center with a pass she had for her husband (who was not with her) who had a stroke. She didn’t deserve the hassle with her missing car, but was she stretching the law to use the pass for the privileged parking?

I like the idea of HOV carpool lanes, and it seems to me that the occupants should be commuters on their way to work or commuting college students on their way to class. Even Dagwood in the comic section is now car pooling with his neighbor Herb Woodley and two other passengers. I assume they use the HOV carpool lane. I think Dagwood was “greener” in the old days, however, when he took the bus to work.

This topic is close to my heart. Because of my disability, I cannot drive. My wife drives me to and from work every day. When we take the freeway, we can and do use the carpool lane, because the letter of the law says we can.
But I worry about the spirit of the law which, as the caller said, is intended to get cars off the road. I like the caller’s point that when she drives her son and her son’s friend to school she is getting the friend’s mom off the road. Perhaps then, if you’re interested in following the spirit of the law, you should count non-drivers as 1/2 a person for this purpose. By that logic, I should stop using the carpool lane, unless one of my kids is along.
As for whether to use the handicap parking place, we always use them when I am in the car, being dropped off or picked up. When it’s just my wife driving around, she does not use them, even though technically she probably could.

It seems to me that the limitation that the “other person must otherwise occupy a seat and use a seatbelt” is probably designed to avoid the question of whether a fetus is a person. Not to argue whether a fetus is a person or not, but by wording the law in this way it becomes clear that, while a pregnant woman can claim that she has a second person in the car (if that is her belief), she cannot argue that the fetus is occupying a seat.

I suspect this is why the law was worded in this way. I doubt that many people would argue that Dougfer69, because he is disabled and cannot drive, does not qualify as a carpool occupant.

I don’t often encounter HOV lanes, but when I do, if there are two or more people in the car, we use the lane. It’s faster for us, but it also gets one more car out of the other clogged lanes, thus speeding up the entire traffic flow, reducing the amount each car is on the road and thereby reducing pollution and saving gas.

But it still seems to me that if they opened up all the lanes to all traffic, the overall throughput would be higher.

What if the driver is not the parent or older sibling of all the children in the car? How would anyone know this? I think you are making too much out of it. There is no completely efficient way to make this work. If it’s gong to be inefficient, how should we do it? Having kids in a car in the HOV lane doesn’t bother me at all.

I’m Still Not Sure What An HOV Or Carpool Lane Is And What All This Concern Over Pollution And Prii Is Al About, But You Are Living A Reality I Left Years Ago. It Doesn’ Matter, Trust Me. Move You And Your Family Away From There Immediately. It’s Insanity Gone Bad.

During The past 24 years I’ve lived on the shore of a fairly remote peaceful 10,000 + acre lake in rural America where one can basically do as one pleases and it’s heaven on earth. I moved here just before the first of our two children were born. My wife and I have made a very good living. My 23 year-old son just earned his MBA and has no debt. Not all Americans deal with this insanity that you face. There are better places to live and raise a family. You can thank me later.


This is such an easy question. The acid test is: this is a carpool lane, so, are you carpooling? If you are driving with someone who would otherwise be responsible for another car on the road (and this would include kids whose Moms are not driving because you are taking those kids somewhere for them) then you are entitled to use the carpool lane. Just your babies or your own children don’t count–you would have been driving them anyway so no carpooling is going on. If your disabled family member or friend would have got another ride somehow, you are carpooling. It all comes down to whether you are keeping one or more additional cars OFF the road. So, lady with the six week old baby, you are NOT carpooling, you should NOT be using the carpool lane.

Wow, such strong opinions over a math test: If carpool requires 2 people, and 2 people are in the car, it gets to go in the carpool lane. I’d argue the (often underused) carpool lanes are better filled with cars with 2 people of any type. I, on the other hand, don’t think that the stickers handed out to high mpg vehicles are appropriate. They let a hybrid, etc car in the lane regardless of number of people in the car.

You can moralize over the ‘intent’ all you want, but not worth the worry, in my opinion.

That would be illegal in my state. The person it was issued to must be in the car.

Put it this way; if she was not driving her child, someone else would have to. Thereby technically at least, she is saving a car from being driven.

Thanks to the American Motorcyclist Association’s lawyers, a single motorcycle rider can ride in the HOV lane. I am really enjoying using the HOV lanes on my motorcycle.

Regarding your issue with kids qualifying as people, you will have to get over it. It isn’t going to change. After all, they are.

I agree wholeheartedly. Prius owners should have to follow the same rules as everyone else.

The Latin plural would be “Priora” and the English plural would be “Priuses”.

Similarly, the Greek plural of “Hippopotamus” is “Hippopotamoi”.

No, the news angle slammed the Secret Service, who had the DC police do the towing.

Why couldn’t they just be polygamists or fans on the way to a Phish concert? Why commuters or college students?

That’s a good analysis, leetramp. The woman who called in said her baby was “pretty much attached to my body” which raises the question of why this infant is not in a carseat.