Pregnant Texas woman cited for driving alone in HOV lane, claims unborn child counts as second passenger

NBC DFW reports Brandy Bottone will fight the ticket in court

A sign indicates a HOV lane in Houston in February 2021. (KPRC/File)

PLANO, Texas – A pregnant Texas woman got a traffic ticket for driving alone in the HOV lane. Now she’s fighting against the citation, claiming her unborn child should count as a second passenger.

According to NBC DFW, Brandy Bottone, of Plano, was pulled over at a sheriff’s checkpoint last month after driving in the High-Occupancy Vehicle lane by herself.

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Per state law, a vehicle that is traveling in an HOV lane must be a motorcycle or have two or more occupants. Single drivers are not allowed to utilize the lane.

Bottone spoke out on the incident to NBC DFW, claiming that when she was stopped, an officer searched her car for another passenger.

“He’s like, ‘Is it just you?’ And I said, ‘No, there’s two of us?” she said to the officer, according to NBC DFW. “And he said, ‘Well, where’s the other person?’”

Bottone, who was 34 weeks pregnant at the time, then gestured toward her stomach and said, “Right here.”

But, the officer told her the unborn child doesn’t count as a second passenger, NBC DFW reports.

“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,’” Bottone told NBC DFW.

According to the Texas penal code, an unborn child is considered a person “at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth.”

However, the same doesn’t apply to the state’s transportation code.

Bottone was fined $275, but she claims she is going to fight the ticket in court. She first told her story to the Dallas Morning News.

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About the Author:

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.