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Have you ever driven around with an inflatable grinch in your passenger seat? No? Neither have we! But recently, a man in Arizona was pulled over by police exactly for that reason. The reason for the run-in with officers of the law isn’t surprising. But the use of a holiday-themed inflatable decoration makes the whole situation funnier. Why was an Arizona man pulled over with an inflatable grinch in the passenger seat?

Why did he have an inflatable grinch in the passenger seat?

Cops pulled over an inflatable grinch holiday decoration riding in the passenger seat of an Arizona man's vehicle
Grinch riding shotgun | Arizona Department of Public Safety

According to CarBuzz, a man was pulled over in Arizona last week for using the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane with a passenger that didn’t look real. Although it could’ve been a car-sick human turning green or even a cosplayer, it turned out to be an inflatable grinch holiday decoration. The driver intended to use the HOV, or carpool, lane by adding an occupant to his vehicle.

If you don’t know, an HOV lane is separate from other lanes on some freeways. As a result, it’s often moving much faster than traffic in other lanes. However, the HOV or carpool lanes are reserved for passenger vehicles with more than one occupant on board. If someone is able to get away with using a fake passenger, it can significantly decrease travel time. It seems like this man in Arizona didn’t have a real person to ride with, so he found a new use for his inflatable grinch.

1 passenger vehicles try to use the HOV lane all the time

Someone attempting to use the HOV or carpool lanes illegally is nothing new. In areas where these lanes exist, drivers are perfectly used to seeing a lone driver taking the lane or trying other ways to fake a passenger next to them. Unfortunately for this specific driver, it’s much easier to tell it’s a fake person when they’re green and look like a recognizable Dr. Seuss character. The creative person was pulled over by police, which later posted a photo of the incident.

It doesn’t seem like the police department was too upset, as it made light of the situation on Twitter. They said the officer spotted a driver in the HOV lane with a “Seusspicious-looking passenger.” However, the police did mention that the festive fake passenger is illegal, and the driver received a citation. Better options would probably be anything that isn’t bright green with a grinch-like smile on its face.

How much is an HOV lane citation in Arizona?

According to 12news, driving in the HOV lane illegally earns drives a $400 ticket. Unfortunately, the creative driver that pretended to be from Whoville will owe at least that much. The outlet also mentions that drivers can contest it in court, go to traffic school to keep the violation off their record, or just pay the fine and move on.

In conclusion, an Arizona man was pulled over with an inflatable grinch in the passenger seat because he was pretending it was a real passenger in the car. Using the high-occupancy vehicle lane is much faster when there’s traffic on this particular Arizona freeway. As a result, many drivers put serious effort into faking a passenger riding inside so they can reach their destination faster. Unfortunately for this man, the police weren’t fooled by the grinch ride-along as a passenger. At least not nearly as much as the “Whos” mistook him for Santa.


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