The Grinch is not an acceptable passenger in the HOV

High-occupancy vehicle lanes are great if you’ve got more than one person in the car, but many of us commute solo. Many have tried – and usually failed – to fool cameras and cops into believing there’s another person in the car, but one man’s recent attempt might be the strangest we’ve seen. An Arizona state trooper noticed a strange passenger on Interstate 10 in Phoenix last week, as one driver recruited a blow-up Grinch to ride shotgun in the HOV lane.

The incident became a social media sensation after the Arizona Department of Public Safety posted a photo of the Grinch on its Twitter page. Police said they appreciate the driver’s “festive” flair but want to remind everyone that attempting to fool the HOV system is against the law, even if entertaining.

We don’t know if or by how much the driver was fined, but Arizona can enforce a decently hefty fine for violating HOV rules. Though it’s likely the most creative attempt to beat the HOV requirements, the Grinch’s appearance is far from the first in Phoenix. In 2020, a 62-year-old man was caught driving with a fake skeleton dressed in linen, and there have been countless drivers caught with inflatables or mannequins riding shotgun.

HOV lanes aim to reduce congestion by increasing the number of people per car rather than everyone driving alone. Some regions call them carpool lanes, and others mix the lane with bus routes to further ease traffic. They generally require that two or more people be in the car while using the lane, but some states and metro areas ease restrictions on HOV lanes at certain times of the day.


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