A pregnant Plano woman who got a ticket for driving alone in an HOV lane plans to fight the citation, arguing her unborn baby should count as a second person.
The woman, Brandy Bottone, was driving down Central Expressway approaching the exit for I-635 when she was stopped at a sheriff’s checkpoint targeting HOV drivers breaking the rules. By law, in order to use the high-occupancy vehicle lanes, drivers must have at least one passenger in the vehicle.
"He starts peeking around. He's like, 'Is it just you?' And I said, 'No there's two of us?'” Bottone said. “And he said, 'Well where's the other person.' And I went, 'right here,'” pointing to her stomach.
At the time of the incident last month, she was 34 weeks pregnant.
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But the officer told her that doesn't count.
"And then I said, 'Well (I'm) not trying to throw a political mix here, but with everything going on (with Roe v. Wade), this counts as a baby,’” she said.
Though Texas penal code recognizes an unborn child as a person, the state's transportation code doesn’t.
Bottone got a $275 ticket. She said she plans to fight the ticket in court.
Bottone first told her story to the Dallas Morning News.
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Legal experts say it's an interesting discussion -- especially considering the recent Supreme Court ruling on abortion rights.
"Different judges might treat this differently. This is unchartered territory we're in now,” said Dallas appellate lawyer Chad Ruback. "There is no Texas statute that says what to do in this situation. The Texas Transportation Code has not been amended recently to address this particular situation. Who knows? Maybe the legislature will in the next session."
Bottone said laws should be consistent in how they define a person.
"I really don't think it's right because one law is saying it one way but another law is saying it another way,” she said.
Bottone’s court date is July 20 – about the same time as her due date.