Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Carpool Lane

Ok so when I was younger and without child I remember driving 405 everyday to and from work.....The traffic was awful...Ugh

I used to moan and groan, complaining to myself since I was alone and obviously not in the carpool lane about those people that drive in the carpool lane with kids in the car. I mean come on how could that be legal. Its not like the kid can drive, its not like if they were not a passenger in that car they would be driving their own.

Well my attitude quickly changed once I had Steve. When he was born we were living in Arizona and when I went back to work we lived an hours drive away from work. I could have left him at a local daycare but hello...I am not going to leave my child in a location that I cant get to for a minimum of an hour. Besides I was lucky enough to have an employer that had a daycare facility right on the property.

But given my previous attitude I still did not believe that it could possibly be legal for me to drive with Steve as my second person...He was 4 months old.

I called highway patrol, and after waiting finally got someone that at least attempted to answer my question
Me: "hi can you tell me if it is legal for me to drive on freeways in the carpool lane with an infant as my passenger"..
The lady who was assigned to take my call: "Well I don't know"
Me: "I was told that I could, that it was legal. But it seems so funny that I wanted to make sure"
Her: "Yeah that does seem weird since the baby can't drive, Hold on"
Some background conversation...
Her: "Well it is legal..But I was told that sometimes you can still get pulled over if the state patrol does not see the passenger. That's neat huh. I guess it makes sense"

Hmmm ok well with that although I did not feel real comfortable with her answer...I took it as the truth and started driving.

Now days...Or at least in Washington you can look at the Dept of Transportation website and find the HOV FAQs and it tells you that it is legal because they don't want to fight the battle.

So far I have not been pulled over...But

When Steve was real little, someone pulled in the carpool lane behind me ( I guess thinking that I was already breaking the law he might was well too). A motorcycle officer pulled along side me and the other car. He pulled right up next to me...I showed him Steve's bottle and he waved me on and then pulled the guy behind me over.

Another time in the carpool lane I was "singing" Christmas songs with a CD to Steve (he was about 2) and accidentally called my friend at work not realizing it...She was real nice and recorded my song...And emailed it around the office. (not carpool related...But it was funny all the same).

Since being in Washington we have been turned in to BE A HERO as violating the carpool lane. I got a notice in the mail stating the date,time and area of 405 I was on when reported.

Then one time when we were driving home on 405 again.. I noticed an officer with his lights on coming up behind us. I asked Steve to raise his hands so the officer could see him...Just in case he was coming after me. He did this as we pulled over to the side to allow the officer to pass...As he did he turned off his lights but remained in front of us. My theory is that he was after us until he saw Steve raise his hands and then turned off his lights.

Now we just make a game of waving to Mr officer as we pass by - Steve thinks its cool.

I bet many others are sharing my old feelings saying to themselves "urrrgg look at that person in the carpool lane with a child in the car..Its not like they are saving us anything..Why should they get the carpool lane"

I can't say it makes sense - BUT I can say I LOVE IT 8)


Blogger jay are said...

Here's my thing about the carpool lane: "If I wasn't in the carpool lane with my kids, I'd be in your stupid lane, making YOU GO EVEN SLOWER! Hel-loooo!" That's the mental thought I send to anyone I suspect might be wishing he or she was the mother of three young children, whinging and whining in the back seat, arguing and fighting and saying "It's not fair! He took my book! I had it first! I hate it when he does that" and getting to drive in the carpool lane. :)
And I can't believe you've had that many incidents with cops about it. After all the years I've been using carpool lanes with my kids, I've never had a cop even glance at me. Maybe that's because in California so many people are cheating in the carpool lane? Or maybe if you drive a minivan, you're automatically exempt. Because who but an uncool mom would drive one? That's the assumption, right? So maybe there's the Get-To-Drive-In-The-Carpool-Lane free ticket.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Kylee said...

Yeah I agree with that too. The longer the kid are in the car the grumpier they get.

About the mini van..yeah that might be it but it might be they Mr officer can just see the kids better.

When I drove my Rhodeo I did not have any problems..but my two door cars..well those are the problem causers...

8:50 PM  
Blogger bryan torre said...

I have violated the carpool lane (on I-405, too) a couple of times to pass ppl who are chugging along at 55mph in the left-hand lane. Hope no one turned me in.

I don't begrudge you the HOV lane. Two ppl are two ppl. The lane is under-utilized anyway, and like JR said, at least you're not in MY lane :-).

10:25 PM  

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