Natural Gas Conversion Harassed by Police in Carpool Lane

A man from San Jose, California, has been pulled over by the California Highway Patrol more than 40 times for driving solo in the carpool lane, but has never gotten a ticket. The reason: His 1995 Dodge Caravan compressed natural gas (CNG) conversion is, apparently, too much for California cops to compute.


In California, the CNG conversion qualifies Carl Tankersley to drive solo in those highly desirable diamond lanes. Yet, although he prominently displays his carpool and CNG stickers as required by law, that doesn’t seem to be enough to stop the cops from disturbing his 30 minute commute on a fairly regular basis.

As Carl says, he’s “running out of clever things to say to them when they miss seeing the stickers.” He’s done about as much as he can without simply plastering the car with stickers, even going to the lengths of adding large stickers that say “Clean Air Vehicle powered by Natural Gas” on all sides of the car.

On occasion, Carl has found himself educating the cops about what other things qualify people for the carpool lane in lieu of that extra passenger, and has sometimes been pulled over more than once in the same commute. It’s good that Carl’s been able to keep his sense of humor about the whole thing, but if it were me I’d probably have lost my patience by now.

So, if you’re out there Mr. (or Ms.) cop-with-the-bad-eyesight-and-preconceived-notions-of-what-a-carpool-lane-vehicle-should-look-like, next time you’re about to pull over a 1995 Dodge Caravan for violating carpool lane rules, think of poor old Carl and do a quick scan for stickers that might indicate you’re about to make a mistake.

Image credits: U.S. Geological Survey via Wikimedia Commons, Jacob Bøtter’s Flickr photostream under Creative Commons License, and milesgehm‘s Flickr photostream under a Creative Commons License.

Source: Silicon Valley Mercury News


Nick Chambers

Not your traditional car guy.