Montreal cop invents new law on the spot to ticket carpooling mom

The spirit of of a carpooling law is very much about licensed drivers sharing a single vehicle. But the letter of the law doesn’t normally state that in most jurisdictions (or any that I know of)


An in-law of mine who is a cop in North Ontario, warned me to be careful around Montreal cops because they are known to be corrupt. (There was a case that made the national news a couple of years ago, when a police car (no siren or lights) sped by an elementary school. Shortly afterwards the school principal waved them down and asked them to slow down in the school zone was grabbed and pepper sprayed by the cop in front of the screaming elementary kids).

Regarding the car pool lane, a cop pulled me over in the HOV lane, once when taking my then 4 year old daughter to daycare.He obviously thought I was the only occupant as my daughter (who was in carseat in the back) was not visible, he let me off with a warning that crossing the line is a $100 fine.

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It’s just acknowledging receipt of the ticket. If the cop can’t prove you got the ticket, then the state can’t hold you liable for fines. So, if you refuse to sign, the cop may arrest you, take you to the station, and book you.
in order to ensure the state has enough evidence to prove you are on notice about the charges.

Despite what a previous poster stated, It is NOT an agreement to appear. However, if you fail to appear, you will likely lose your right to a trial and be found guilty of the charges.


Well, a Merkin cop is taught he will make Babby Jeezus cry and will go to Hell if he dies without emptying his weapon at anyone who puts him In Fear. And Merkin cops are taught that everything is supposed to put them In Fear. I’ve been through the simulators and a lot of the training exercises (one benefit of being a former member of ASLET). They condition you to react however the person running it wants you to. And what they want you to do is assume that every situation requires split-second deadly violence. Every “civilian” is the enemy. Every situation is a life-or-death combat situation.

I’ve done some civil stuff by writing a letter to the court, but it was CIVIL civil stuff (probate, QDRO) - I just sent copies of paperwork to enter it into the record ahead of (and instead of) the scheduled court date to present it in person, etc… I’m guessing it depends on whether it’s minor enough that it can be handled entirely by the court staff, and not need even a judge’s rubber stamp.

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Re. Kids in carpool lanes

Even if you agree with the idea that kids shouldn’t count, it would make the by-law discriminatory. What if you’re carrying 4 kids, and therefore have no space for another potential driver?
Everyone travelling in a car in the lane would need to be checked to make sure a - they have a license, b - they own a car. Otherwise you’re violating the “spirit” of the by-law.

Can you imagine, though, a city saying “Oh, sorry parents, must have two licensed vehicle owning drivers to use the carpool lane” - that’s a pretty hard PR sell. And your soul must be pretty cold if seeing a child with a lone parent in a carpool lane gets you riled up.


I was hoping by mentioning box turtles people would realize I was joking. That was an actual argument used by some politician in the U.S. to justify his opposition to gay marriage (“If you allow a man to marry another man, why not allow him to marry a box turtle?” Or something along those lines)

Anyway just for the record I agree the cop was out of line and also that children are not box turtles (usually).

However I do disagree that a child or any other person incapable of driving is satisfying the spirit of the car pool lane rule when they are the passenger in a car. The point of those lanes is to take cars off the road which isn’t what’s happening when you’re driving your child around.

HOWEVER, that doesn’t really matter and no one should really care that a child passenger qualifies a car for travel in the car pool lane since 1) those lanes usually have plenty of room and 2) do we really want law enforcement to have to judge from a distance whether a passenger is capable of driving? No, of course not.

So in summary I agree with you.


Exactly. No matter how “right” the cop might be in “spirit”, he/she has no right to apply baseless punitive measures to anyone. The law is what it is, loopholes and all.

OK, so where do we draw the line? 2 kids? 3? Because a parent driving 4 kids to a soccer game is definitely keeping 3 other cars off the road. But does that driver need to carry the birth certificates for each kid with them? When I’m travelling for work and driving a colleague from another country, can I not use the carpool lane because my colleague isn’t licensed to drive here? And how is the police officer supposed to tell as I drive past at 65 mph?

I will go ahead and flag myself for whataboutism, but my point is that the rules for carpool lanes are probably already too complicated (as this report exhibits). No need to make them worse.


If only we lived in such a world. :lament:

Aside from the impossibility of adjudicating the various scenarios (and hence the simple definition given the law) I’m not sure I agree with the thread generally on what the spirit of car pool lanes is.

If you drop your kid off at school and then go to work, you are just as much transporting two people in one car as someone who drops their friend off at work and then goes to work. Were it not for being in that car, the kid would have to get where they are going somehow. Whether that would be a taxi, a set on public transit or another parent dropping them off, I think all of it makes the carpooling just as valid.

And the cop’s interpretation is just silly. It would say that driving your kid + two neighbours’ kids was not carpooling (despite keeping two other cars off the road) but driving your adult friend with appendicitis to the hospital is (even though you are purely chauffeuring).


Hey, hey, hey…whaddya think this is, America?


In other words, the story is unimportant because it trivially reinforces an idea we already had.

Personne n’aime un nazi de la grammaire.


Let me preface by saying I agree this was a ridiculous situation. The cop should not have made up a law on the spot and given this woman a ticket.

I’m going to take the unpopular position here that it may make sense to exclude children from the passenger count. It seems to me the point of HOV lanes is to reduce cars on the road by sharing the cars more, and that means you have to take solo drivers and put them together into shared vehicles (carpooling and whatnot). Children have no agency in this regard. They can’t choose to drive a car solo so their ‘choice’ to share the ride with mom and dad is not really acting in response to the HOV incentive.

As a parent of 2 kids who lives in the Bay Area and regularly takes HOV lanes, let me just say one of my favorite pasttimes is to fly past the non-HOV cars and laugh and laugh and laugh… as I point my finger at them and say “you know even without the HOV lane I would be driving with the exact same number of people in this car, so it’s awesome I can take advantage of this situation without having to modify any behavior that contributes to fewer cars on the road, BOOYAH!”


Inventing new laws on the spot?

That’s called Fascism.


No, it’s acknowledging that you were given the ticket. Guilt is only established if you pay the fine, or lose in court.


I love how they tap dance around what actually happened to spare the feelings of the police.

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The child could very well take a separate taxi. And you’re absolutely right, adults without drivier’s licenses are people too :slight_smile:

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Hell if they had been black the fucking cops would have just shot them. Seems like they got off easy.

Dear god ain’t it pathetic that such a though is even possible. Yet here in the remains of America that would have been a likely outcome.

Even if the consequences weren’t huge, it clearly demonstrates a fundamental problem with out attitude towards cops, in that someone so clearly unfit to have any authority over anyone can do something like this and not get fired for it.

I don’t have any special legal authority, but if I lied to a customer about the law while I was working, I would certainly get fired for it. People who do have legal authority, should, if anything be held to a higher standard, but the world is so full of bootlicks that we let them get away with shit like this.