Expressway driver's passenger was a real dummy


Looking a bit regretful. Photo by State Police.

State Police report an alert trooper noticed something a little off about a passenger in a car heading inbound in the I-93 HOV lane in Quincy around 6:35 a.m. today:

After further investigation, Trooper [John] Carnell discovered the operator had propped up a work jacket with a mannequin head affixed to the top of the jacket in an attempt to create the illusion of a true passenger. The operator of the vehicle was issued a citation for operating on an excluded way.

This is the second time Carnell has stopped an HOV miscreant. In April, 2013, he stopped and ticketed a woman who was using a doll in a car seat in an attempt to skip the traffic in the single-driver lanes.



Free tagging: 


This operator was issued a

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This operator was issued a citation, aaaand an A for effort. Would have loved to hear the exchange between the operator and trooper.


That was my first car...

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A hand-me-down from my brother so that I could commute between Burlington and Salem as a college freshman. It was a 1985 Chevy Citation, just like that one except in blue. It was missing its whole exhaust system past the catalytic converter and it vibrated like a massage chair, so it was nicknamed the massagemobile.


First car

A very under-powered mid-60s Mercury Comet. I mainly remember it took forever to get this up to highway speed when merging.

I installed a stereo system in a

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1982 Citation for a woman I worked with on a temp job in 1986. The Citation used the then-standard two shaft radio installation, except that the factory radio was mounted vertically instead of horizontally - one of many "tricks" (like using torx head bolts on headlight covers well before the rest of the industry) GM thought would deter people from doing their own work such as installing aftermarket equipment.

My co-worker told me that, after she got used to reading the radio face sideways, she never had a problem with the stereo I installed. As for the rest of the car, I learned she sold it about a year or so after we completed our assignment and I went on to work for my current employer.


Brings me back

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My first car - I paid 250$ for a 1981 Chevy Citation (I called it the Shitation); Driver's window wouldn't roll up/down, so to go to the drive through, I had to get out of the car.

My favorite was the driver's seat would just unhinge and you'd be driving along only to find that the seat was all the way back - that's the driver's seat.

Something died in it...

Good times.

Ford Pinto

Ford Pinto, actually.

I didn't get much driving time on that before it was totalled in our driveway by a drunk, so I did most of my learning on a '75 Toyota Corolla.


drunk was probably the Ford design engineer that created the Pinto. You're lucky you didn't lose the house with the car!

needs an upper lip wax

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I've never seen a man with such long eyelashes, so I'm assuming it's the head of a woman


Depends upon how long the driver can get away with it

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before they're caught. Back in the pre-Zakim Bridge Charles River Crossing days, when the I-93 lower deck HOV lane also connected to the Tobin Bridge, I remember hearing about a clever dodge one guy had. He had a full sized dressed female mannequin in the front passenger seat, and was very clever about changing her clothes at least a couple time a week to avoid suspicion should the same trooper be on enforcement duty at different times of the week.

In addition, he had rigged the "passenger" so, if there was a trooper present at the off-ramp to the Tobin Bridge (they didn't do enforcement every day), she would wave as the car approached him. This was ultimately his undoing when, one day, the "too predicitable and consistent" wave aroused the trooper's suspicions and the gentleman was pulled over.


I'll add one historical sidebar to this story

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When the I-93 SB HOV lane was also the exit ramp to the Tobin Bridge, the State Police had a very effective enforcement method. After pulling you over for not having the minimum number of occupants (and for many years, the minimum was 3+, not 2+) and writing out the ticket, you were allowed to proceed. However, the trooper wouldn't let you merge with the I-93 mainline traffic. You were forced to take the ramp to the Tobin Bridge instead.

If you weren't alert enough (or confident enough) to navigate the very short weave between the left side ramp from I-93 and the right side ramp to City Square, you would wind up in Chelsea.

As I noted, the State Police didn't do HOV enforcement every day. So, a number of people I knew who commuted alone into Boston via I-93 every day (and were very familar with the area) would get into the HOV lane. If they saw the trooper was on duty at the end of the lane, they'd put on their signal, take the ramp to the Tobin Bridge, and then take the slip ramp into City Square to the North Washington Street bridge.

Some people gamed that

My husband would exit at Route 1 if the cop were there, merge over to Storrow if no cop was there. He had his system worked out!

Question here

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In April, 2013, he stopped and ticketed a woman who was using a doll in a car seat in an attempt to skip the traffic in the single-driver lanes.

Since their inception, the long-stated purpose of HOV lanes is to improve traffic flow and reduce the nasty effects of emissions by reducing the number of vehicles on the road. As a child in a car seat is incapable of driving a motor vehicle, then why are they considered to be a legal occupant for HOV lane use?


Age discrimination....

No I'm kidding, I have no idea, good question.

What if your bringing your neighbors kid to dare care on your way to work though? Keeps one more car off the road right?


Can you tell who is/is not driving age at a glance?

Who would you pull over? That's one possible issue with restricting to drivers only.

Another is that some people can't drive - but can carpool! Others are driving age, but don't have licenses, etc.

What is great in theory could be an enforcement nightmare.


OK, perhaps not driving age

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But adult vs juvenile should be close enough. And I'll also give a break for teenagers, as I agree it is hard to tell the age of most teens at a glance.

However, toddlers in car seats and younger children should be obvious by even the most brief glance.

Where do you draw the line?

What age would you pick?

How would you enforce this?

My neighbor's 14 year old looks older than my 18 year old - and has since he was about six. Also, people with kids in private schools and people taking kids to soccer games often pack one minivan instead of four ... which is a carpool. (Note that you would need at least an 8-passenger vehicle to get six kids in the car, too, due to front seat restrictions).

These lanes have been in existence for three decades or more - long enough to shake out what can and cannot be enforced.


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having said baby in the car is to help out a friend, as the driver was going somewhere that the parent needed the baby to get to, thus eliminating another driver on the road


If you're not careful, you'll

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If you're not careful, you'll prove the point that there are lots of people who deserve quicker trips in an HOV lane even when driving solo (carrying cargo that someone else would otherwise drive separately, etc).

Not so sure about that one

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My former boss had a State Police hat (he got it legitimately) that he used to keep on the rear deck of his sedan.

One day, he got pulled over on the Pike for speeding. Got off with only a warning, but the trooper gave him a real earful about openly displaying the hat.

If I pull you over and you have

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A police hat, MPPA or BPPA sticker, or a stupid plate with the blue horizontal bar and you're not a cop're getting a ticket.


Wait a second....

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Wait a second....

No good cop would ever break the law, violate his department's code of conduct, or tarnish the general reputation of law enforcement by making a practice of giving a fellow officer a pass on law violations. But a corrupt cop might.

The more people who display police hats, ticket books, MPPA/BPPA/"Thin blue line" stickers, etc; the harder it is for the corrupt cop to do his corrupt thing.

Therefore, I would expect the good cops to encourage people to put those stickers on their cars, first because it is a show of support for law enforcement in general, and secondly because it discourages and frustrates the corrupt.

Against the law and most policies

Having an MPAA union sticker on your car if you aren't in the union is actually against the law (very minor) and putting department or state property in your personal vehicle (especially tickets) is against policy as well. If it's your car and your property, go right ahead. If you are lending police gear to someone else in hopes they get out of a ticket.... that's going to be a violation of policy.

In addition, having stickers on your cars doesn't really do anything for you. If you get pulled over and say your a cop, you aren't getting a ticket anyway.