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By Samuel R. Avro on Mar 16, 2009 with no responses

Driver Caught in HOV Lane With Unbuckled Dummy ‘Passenger’

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Dumb and dumber? It had the makings of a fantastic idea, but simple foolishness ruined one driver’s master plan to beat traffic.

A commuter from Camano Island, Washington, sick of the lengthy wait in traffic, came up with a novel idea to beat it. He fashioned a homemade dummy, placed it nicely in the passenger seat and breezed through the designated High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane on Interstate 405 east of Seattle.

An interesting way to circumvent the Washington law that requires at least two people in a vehicle using a high occupancy vehicle lane, it surely is. So how did he get caught?

It turns out that his ‘passenger’ forgot to comply with a different law. Washington law requires passengers to wear seat belts.

An alert State Patrol trooper who noticed the dangling belt buckle proceeded to pull over the vehicle. When the officer went to investigate why the passenger wasn’t buckled in, he was instead greeted by a homemade dummy concocted out of plastic pipe, foam and a Halloween mask of “Lord of the Rings” wizard Gandalf, dressed in a rain jacket and ball cap.

Deciding to have mercy on the dummy, the trooper instead ticketed the driver for operating his vehicle in the HOV lane – a $124 fine. The dummy was confiscated by the police.

The driver told the trooper that he couldn’t tolerate sitting in traffic and had already been traveling the HOV lane with his buddy Gandalf for a few days.

As always, there’s a lesson to be learned. Moral of the story: cheating the law is worse than an obstacle course; avoid one and you’re likely to be creating another.