A tip from the highway patrol: Carpooling with the dead doesn't mean you get to use the HOV lane
The black van was driving southbound in the carpool lane of Interstate 15, just past the Stratosphere hotel and casino in Las Vegas, when the Nevada Highway Patrol trooper noticed the driver appeared to be alone.
He flipped on his red and blue lights and pulled the driver over.
“Hi! Trooper Smaka, Nevada Highway Patrol,” he said as the man in the van handed him his driver’s license. “You got your registration and insurance as well?..”
...Then the driver sort of nodded and motioned toward the back of the van. He said there was a body back there.
“Oh, you have a deceased in the back?” Trooper Travis Smaka repeated coolly.
And so began the brief, unusual attempt by a mortuary driver in Las Vegas to claim a corpse as his passenger.
The traffic stop Monday came amid increased HOV lane enforcement on I-15 running parallel to the Las Vegas Strip. Since mid-June, it’s a $250 fine to drive solo in a carpool lane — a change from before when enforcement occurred only during morning and evening rush hours. On the first day of enforcement, the department reported dozens were ticketed.
The change has been met with a lot of gripes among locals.
Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Jason Buratczuk said officers expected to hear some of the usual excuses that they’ve encountered while enforcing the HOV lanes on U.S. Route 95: rushing to work, rushing to the hospital or rushing to an important appointment.
But rushing the dead to a funeral home? Weird, Buratczuk said.
...“Yes, it’s a person, but they’re not in a seat and they’re not living and breathing,” he said. “This body was in the rear cargo area and that doesn’t qualify as a seat.”
What if the dead were riding shotgun?
“The HOV violation is the least of your concerns,” Buratczuk said...
Traffic in Houston is horrendous, and I'm often impressed by the ways people take to get around it. Too cool to not pass on.