Washington State Trooper Rick Johnson
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Washington State Trooper Rick Johnson
Credit: KUOW Photo/Katherine Banwell

Hey, single drivers: Get out of that HOV lane!

State Trooper Rick Johnson has heard some curious excuses from people driving in the HOV lane.

"I forgot I didn’t have my kids in the car.”

“I consider my dog/golden retriever a person.”

Others are more brazen: “We’ve confiscated a number of mannequins,” he said.

Read: We photographed Ericka when she was a sex worker. This is her life nowKUOW listener Kurt Spence wrote to us about these kind of people out of frustration.


On his morning commute to Seattle from Kent, he sees a lot of drivers alone in their cars traveling in the HOV lane. HOV lanes, or high occupancy vehicle lanes, are for vehicles that have two or more people in them, in high traffic times.

The Washington State Patrol monitors HOV violators. Their numbers show that single occupant drivers using HOV lanes has increased by just 3 percent in the past three years. And often, those cheaters, when caught, have some unusual reasons why they're using the HOV lane.

If you see an HOV violator, you can report their license number by calling 877-764-HERO. That's 877-764-4376.

Trooper Johnson says the patrol will send a warning letter, but it can't ticket violators unless troopers catch them in the act.