As HOV-lane dummies go, the one police say a Dix Hills woman cobbled together last week with a jacket and baseball hat was rather uninspired. Besides, the “passenger” wasn’t even clicked in with a seat belt.
The perpetrator might not be as much of a dummy, however, as others who risk violating multiple laws to use the high-occupancy lanes. These left-side lanes can be used at all times by drivers of low-emission vehicles or during peak commuting hours by vehicles with at least one passenger.
Especially on the Long Island Expressway, traffic can inspire madness. Frustrated drivers seem more likely to cross solid white lines and duck in and out of the HOV lane, with or without real passengers. Often at full speed. And it happens in reverse, too. Drivers impatient with a slow car ahead in the carpool lane have had no qualms about swerving out of the HOV lane instead of waiting for the lane-changing area.
This behavior is more likely to cause an accident. And if caught, the driver can expect significant damage to his or her wallet and driving record. Websites advertise legal expertise on getting out of a carpool-lane violation. New York State officials might want to consider a more aggresive campaign to inform drivers of just how dangerous an illegal dive into or out of the HOV lane can be. As for dummies, the live ones in the HOV lane always will be more of a problem. — The editorial board