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Judge: Fetuses Don’t Count in HOV Lanes

January 11, 2006 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) _ Fetuses do not count as passengers when it comes to determining who may drive in the carpool lane, a judge ruled.

Candace Dickinson was fined $367 for improper use of a carpool lane, but contended the fetus inside her womb allowed her to use the lane. Motorists who use the lanes normally must carry at least one passenger during weekday rush hours.

Municipal Judge Dennis Freeman rejected Dickinson’s argument Tuesday, applying a ``common sense″ definition in which an individual is someone who occupies a ``separate and distinct″ space in a vehicle.


``The law is meant to fill empty space in a vehicle,″ the judge said.

Sgt. Dave Norton stopped Dickinson’s car Nov. 8. When asked how many people were in the car, Dickinson said two, pointing to ``her obvious pregnancy,″ the officer said.

Norton said Dickinson’s theory ``would require officers to carry guns, radios and pregnancy testers, and I don’t think we want to go there.″