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'I'm pregnant' doesn't work in HOV lane, judge says

A fetus doesn't count as a passenger in the carpool lane, an Arizona judge has ruled.

A fetus doesn't count as a passenger in the carpool lane, an Arizona judge has ruled.

The Phoenix Municipal Court decision doesn't affect drivers in high-occupancy-vehicle lanes around, say, Vancouver or Toronto, but it addresses a thorny question that may have occurred to some.

Candace Dickinson, 23, of Ahwatukee Foothills, Ariz., got a ticket for driving alone in an HOV lane on Interstate 10 on Nov. 8. She fought it in court on grounds that she was pregnant at the time, the Arizona Republic reported.

Judge Dennis Freeman rejected her argument on Tuesday. For HOV purposes, a person is someone who occupies a separate and distinct space in a vehicle, he said.

The officer who stopped Dickinson, Sgt. Dave Norton, said she told him there were two people in the car and pointed to "her obvious pregnancy," the Associated Press reported.

Dickinson's theory, he said, "would require officers to carry guns, radios and pregnancy testers, and I don't think we want to go there."

An Arizona Department of Public Safety official said a vehicle can't be in an HOV lane at rush hour unless two or more people are in it.

"If a [pregnant] mother goes to a movie theatre, she's not going to pay for her child."

Dickinson, who has since given birth to a boy, faces $390 US in fines.

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