PHOENIX (FOX 10) - One driver found out the hard way that using a dummy as a passenger in the HOV lane is a dumb move. A DPS trooper noticed something weird inside a car that had been driving in the carpool lane on Loop 202 earlier this week. He snapped a photo of the "passenger" and now people across the country are talking about it.
Troopers know a dummy when they see one. We spoke with one who became suspicious of a passenger in a car. He thought the face on the passenger looked small and found it odd that the passenger was wearing a sweater, a scarf, and a hat - because who wears all of that when the forecast calls for temperatures to climb into the 90s?
Nobody likes being stuck in traffic, especially when you see cars in the HOV lane speeding past you. Some solo drivers take the risk and use the HOV lane anyway. Then, there are dummies, like this one.
"I looked over [and] the driver looked toward me," said DPS trooper Doug Keenan said. "But the passenger didn't move [and] when I looked at the face, it didn't look like a real face."
Keenan did a double-take then pulled the car over. He got a good look at the "passenger" buckled up in the front seat, which confirmed his suspicion.
"It's kind of rude," Keenan said. "It's arrogant because they feel their time is more important than all the other motorists that are out there."
She's clearly not real, but the consequence is. The driver was slapped with a $401 fine. He offered no explanation or apology.
"He almost had like an arrogance [to him]," Keenan said. "He was kind of rude about it like it wasn't a big deal but it really is."
Troopers say they're catching more and more dummies in the carpool lane. DPS says it's foolish for drivers to think they could fool troopers this way. In fact, they think there should be a harsher penalty for drivers with dummies.
"Yes, absolutely," Keenan said. "Because it's insulting to everyone else [and] it's insulting to everyone else's intelligence."
The driver who recently got caught has a commercial driver's license and actually drives for a living for FedEx. As a result of his carpool violation, that driver could potentially lose his job. It's considered a hazardous moving violation and adds two points to a driver's license.