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HOV lane violators, rules of the road
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Unpopular opinion: A right and the wrong way to break the rules of the road


People who break the rules of the road are selfish. There are no room for exceptions, according to KIRO Nights Producer Drew Barth.

“I was sitting and trying to get onto the freeway on my way here today,” Producer Drew said. “I was sitting in that metered on-ramp, and this dude right behind me pulled right into the HOV lane and went around – it was not cool, dude.”

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Abusing an on-ramp HOV lane is a unique niche among the carpooling pet peeves of Western Washington. But violating carpool regulations is not unfamiliar to the area’s drivers who will resort to using creepy dolls to con their way into a carpool lane. One driver even used a cutout of the Dos Equis guy.

Washington State Patrol Troopers pulled over 1,756 carpool lane violators over a one-week emphasis across King, Snohomish and Pierce Counties in September. The traffic stops resulted in 85 warnings and 1,671 tickets. One driver was ticketed three separate times. In contrast, troopers pulled over 13,500 left-lane campers in 2017.

Still, violating the rules of the road is worth it to some drivers who value time over a potential ticket. KIRO Radio’s John Curley is open about his flagrant violations of the HOV lane, saying “I’ll risk the $130 fine. You roll the dice.”

Gee uses a different logic.

“I had some jobs earlier today and if I hadn’t been ‘selfish,’ I would have arrived here another 30 minutes later,” Gee said. “People who break the rules of the road in the right kind of way (are OK) … there’s a wrong way. The wrong way is to be in the left lane and you’re going 55 mph. You’re selfish and you’re messing up traffic.”

“So for example, when you’re getting on the on-ramp and it’s loaded with cars, and the carpool lane is empty…” Gee said. “I’m going to make sure that everything is cool so my one car is not hurting anybody … doing it the wrong way, you can’t be running lights, you can’t be speeding, speeding is bad for you. But a little carpool from time-to-time, OK …. That’s selfish?”

“Yes,” Drew said. “Don’t you think there’s purpose behind that? Maybe that’s why they meter the thing in the first place.”

“What if you ask nicely?”

“Please demonstrate asking nicely from a moving car on the freeway.”

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