Pregnant driver uses fetus to claim ‘2nd passenger’ and escape fine

Signaling of a plate, informing that it is an exclusive lane for vehicles with 2 or more people.

US traffic regulation delimits exclusive lanes for vehicles with passengers
Photos: Internet/Playback

After receiving a $215 fine for driving alone in carpool lane — a lane intended for multi-occupancy cars in the United States — Brandy Bottone, a 34-year-old pregnant driver, argued that her unborn child counted as a passenger.

The woman was driving on US Highway 75 South on June 29. At the time, she was on her way to pick up her son and decided to take the HOV lane, allowed for vehicles with two or more people, according to local law. However, she was soon stopped by a police checkpoint.

According to Bottone, who spoke with the The Dallas Morning News, a police officer asked where the other person was in the car and she pointed to her belly, claiming her daughter was the person. The officer, however, denied it, replying that they needed to be “two people out of body”.

After that, another police officer gave her the ticket for the fine, despite saying that if she resorted to legal means, she would probably win the case.

According to local media, Bottone will go to court to file an appeal against the measure on July 20.

What does the law say?

The 34-week pregnant driver used the Roe v. Wade as an argument. With this episode, the individual freedom of women to have an abortion legally, which had been in force since 1973, was banned by the US Supreme Court on June 24 this year.

So, for Bottone, his unborn daughter is already considered a person under US law. Therefore, she adds that it is “shocking” that the police did not see the situation that way.

a spokeswoman for Texas Alliance for Life, an anti-abortion group, Amy O’Donnell, said local laws were pretty clear. “While the Texas Penal Code recognizes an unborn child as a person in our state, the Texas Transportation Code does not specify the same,” she states.

Despite this, according to the appeals lawyer, Chad Ruback, the argument used by the pregnant woman is “creative”. For him, it is possible that a judge will grant the victory of the case.

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