Montreal mom uses carpool lane with daughter, still gets ticket
Published Wednesday, April 4, 2018 8:28PM EDT
A Montreal mom was left confused after an officer wrote her a $169 ticket for driving in the HOV lane with her daughter. The officer claimed the nine-year-old passenger needed a driver’s licence.
Stéphanie Émond was driving in the Sources Boulevard carpool lane last week when the officer pulled her over. The lane is reserved for buses, taxis and cars carrying two or more people, as the roadside sign indicated, so Émond was puzzled. Even more so when she received the pricey ticket.
The officer claimed that in order to drive in the high-occupancy vehicle lane, Émond’s daughter needed to have a driver’s licence herself. After all, carpool lanes are meant to keep more cars off the road. Since her daughter couldn’t drive herself yet, they’re not reducing emissions.
“She went on to say, ‘With your daughter not having a driver’s permit, we’re obviously not getting cars off the road this way.’ So she thought that I deserved a ticket,” Émond recalled on CTV News Channel Wednesday. “She seemed very sure of what she was telling me.”
Émond understands the eco-friendly purpose of a carpool lane, but says there’s no clear definition of who constitutes a “passenger” in a carpool lane so she shouldn’t have been ticketed.
“When there’s no definition, we cannot make one up. It has to be written somewhere and we can’t just issue (a ticket) based on interpretation of the law -- even if it made a lot of sense,” she said.
The Quebec website for the Canadian Automobile Association supports Émond’s position. There is no age requirement for carpooling, it says, quoting Transport Québec spokesperson Solène Lemay as saying “a parent taking a child to daycare is assumed to be carpooling.”
Émond still has her ticket and hasn’t spoken with police directly yet, but plans to write a contestation letter in hopes of saving herself a trip to court and time away from work.