Who can be second person in a car in the HOV lanes?

The in basket: My wife, the Judybaker, and I were musing as we drove along in an HOV lane in Tacoma about what constitutes a second person in a vehicle for purposes of allowing use of those lanes. Would an infant in a car seat be enough? A 10-year-old? A blind person?


While I was at it, I asked State Trooper Krista Hedstrom, PAO for the local WSP detachment, that old question I consider more a joke than a serious question: Is a dead person in a casket in a hearse considered a second person if the driver has no one else in the hearse?
The out basket: Oddly, those first three all qualify as a second person, even though none of them could drive a car, so their presence is not helping to reduce congestion on the highway.
Krista says the state law creating HOV lanes just addresses the number of “passengers” needed to use the HOV lane. I’ve never seen such a lane where two isn’t the prescribed number to use the lane.
As for the hearse question, she says, “The (law) does not specify if the
passenger must be alive, but common sense would tell me that a deceased
person in a hearse would not qualify as a passenger in the HOV lanes.”

3 thoughts on “Who can be second person in a car in the HOV lanes?

  1. Just shows more of the hypocrisy of the HOV lane concept. Soon to be know as SML (State Moneymaker Lanes).

  2. I haven’t been on it recently, but several years ago the HOV on the Bellevue side leading up to the 520 floating bridge had 3+ as the prescribed number of occupants.

  3. Just returned from a visit to Vancouver (the big one, up north. not the small one, down south). HOV lanes require 3 people in BC. And, they are conveniently located on the right side of the road, where people can exit without having to cross 4 or 5 lanes of high-speed traffic

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