Commuters are often tempted to violate traffic law to hasten their travel, especially when caught in the teeming thicket of rush hour on a highway. A popular method for averting this petroleum-powered prison is to infiltrate the HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lane. Obviously, risking an expensive speeding ticket to save some time is not wise, but in moments of extreme emotion, unwise choices can be very appealing. However, we are not here to discuss the viability of criminal behavior in extreme situations; we are here to dissect the term high-occupancy.

First, let us define the form and function of the HOV lane. An HOV lane is a traffic lane reserved for vehicles carrying two or more passengers. They are usually found on saturated highways leading into and outof urban areas, and are often enticingly vacant. The HOV lane’s job is obvious: to encourage drivers to carpool by offering them an exclusive supplementary lane. What is difficult to understand is why a vehicle with only two people in it is considered high-occupancy.

It would be a colossal exaggeration to regard any vehicle containing two people to be highly occupied. After all, is two really a high number? It’s the second lowest possible number of passengers. If having two passengers designates a vehicle as high-occupancy, then a vehicle with one passenger must be low-occupancy. This is known as a binary logic system, and it only allows for either a high or low state. But, as we know, the world is not black and white, often offering complicated variation and exception, not rigid classification. What about vehicles carrying synthetic beings? What about a bus bus which has just dropped off or is picking up a multitude of passengers? What about vehicles carrying children? What about all the things that you said we were to gain?

Apparently there is no distinction made between a parent taking their child along on an errand and a Greyhound full of transients headed into the city. According to traffic law, these vehicles are equally occupied. We should acknowledge and appreciate the unique contributions of each vehicle’s occupation, defining additional states of vehicle occupancy in collaboration with new occupancy-specific lanes. A good start would be creating an MOV lane.

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