Woman caught "cheating" on the HOV lane by using a mannequin

I’ve heard urban legends about this, but this the first time I’ve actually come across it.
You can’t drive in the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane on the major commuter routes unless you have at least two people (and ideally more) in the car. The Powers That Be want to encourage carpooling to alleviate traffic congestion. So people make jokes about driving in with a cardboard cutout or a mannequin. I didn’t think anyone would actually do it.

Only this woman did.
http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2010/07/woman_and_her_m.html

http://wbztv.com/local/dummy.in.hov.2.1800925.html
The mannequin she used is pretty good – it looks like an old guy, sleeping. What gave it away were the hands, which were unnaturally posed as if they were suspended in midair.

Moral: don’t do this, or tie the hands down if you do.

Someone else was caught doing the same in New York earlier this year:

http://wcbstv.com/local/hov.lanes.mannequin.2.1468589.html

She should’ve jammed a turntable under those hands.

And $35 dollars, that seems unusually low, especially for Massachusetts, especially for the intent of her violation.

:smiley:
TWO turntables…and a microphone!

This is not new. People have been getting caught doing this in the DC area on and off for years.

Its funny every time, though.

Heard of one guy who figured he could use the HOV lane because he was transporting a body in the back. That’s two people, right? Judge disagreed.

Being pregnant will also not work.

It was actually a guy driving a hearse. The judge ruled that the deceased was cargo and not a passenger.

We seem to get a dummy passenger story every other month here on Long Island. It’s not an urban legend. It usually makes the papers as well as the local cable news channel.

This was back in the ‘80s: my best friend had a sister who died of leukemia at age three. His mom kept a doll in the car to put in the car seat so she could use the commuter lane driving to and from the childrens’ hospital. I’m not saying she was right or wrong, but I never had a problem with it. She never got caught.

My favorite was the guy who got caught because he didn’t buckle the dummy’s seatbelt: http://www.consumerenergyreport.com/2009/03/16/driver-caught-in-hov-lane-with-unbuckled-dummy-passenger/

There used to be an UL inthe DC area that you could buy a dummy that was completly realistic, and even produced the heat signature of a human to fool the special scanners they were supposedly using. But I’ve never actually seen one for sale. Not that I wanted one. . . ::whistles::

Easily one of my favorite pictures ever. You must read.

That’s a totally natural pose if you’re a gangsta rapper and/or DJ.

I could not believe that. It’s almost $400 in the SF Bay area.

Oh man. Made my day.

And that still seems low to me. Last I checked, simple HOV violations were like $350 (e.g. you didn’t realize it was 3:40 or you were just passing). It seems that intentionally gaming the system would be much worse. Here, it’s just typical Bay overpricedness.

What I loved was the last line of the story: she can get the mannequin back once she pays the fine. (I’m curious what provision of the law allowed for it to be confiscated to begin with.)

I’m guessing they kept the mannequin as evidence. Once the case is resolved, it can be returned.

I’m surprised the woman in the last link from the OP was caught:

http://wcbstv.com/local/hov.lanes.mannequin.2.1468589.html

The mannequin looks pretty darned lifelike.

I guess the cop pulled alongside and had a good long look, thinking she was real.