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    Corpses, ashes and unborn children — none count as passengers in carpool lanes
    • October 20, 2023

    Q. I was traveling east on the 91 Freeway in the No. 1 lane with moderate traffic when a hearse went by in the HOV lane with only a driver in the car. So if a corpse was in a coffin in the back, does that qualify as two people in the vehicle? If that is true, then can you have a vase with a cremated relative in your passenger seat and qualify as two people?

    Tom Anderson, Lake Forest

    A. No, and so no again.

    “A corpse or a vase of cremated remains does not qualify as a second passenger,” said Mitch Smith, an officer and spokesman for the California Highway Patrol out of its Westminster station house. “It’s the same thing as an unborn child, it’s not going to count.”

    Smith offered up other unsuccessful attempts officers hear or see:

    — The driver claims to have avoided a collision.

    — “I was just using this lane to pass.”

    — A Halloween mask attached to the passenger’s headrest. “That happens frequently,” Smith said.

    Driving tip: If you are solo and take a carpool lane by accident, don’t cross the double-white or double-yellow lines to correct your mistake. Wait until there is a legal break to exit. Getting cited for driving solo in a carpool lane is not a moving violation – but crossing the double lines is and can affect your insurance or at least send you to traffic school.

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    Q. Honk: My wife and I are regular readers of your column. We have a question: Who is responsible in state government for the maintenance of highways, specifically the drainage openings along the center divider in Los Angeles? There are drainage slots every so many feet. The slots have been full of dirt topped off by grass. If we have major rain ahead, these drainage systems simply can’t do their job and keep giant puddles off of the freeway if clogged, which could result in accidents. Several years ago we witnessed a major six-car accident on one of these areas on the 91. Something has to be done!

    – Stan and Kathy Gronos, Gardena

    A. Thanks for reading, folks, and keeping bread on Honk’s table.

    Sounds like a Caltrans matter. Officials with the state agency have told Honk over the years they appreciate the public pointing out potential problems to them.

    You can do so by filling out a form at

    Caltrans’ policy is to respond to you within 10 calendar days.

    HONKIN’ FACT: There is a little-known practice among airline passengers call “skiplagging” or “hidden-city travel.” They book a flight with a stop in the city they really want to end up in to save a lot of money and hop off there and not at the final destination according to the ticket. But at least some airlines fight hard against the practice, leaning on the “contract” travelers agree to when buying a ticket, and sometimes the carriers even deploy penalties (Source: The New York Times).

    To ask Honk questions, reach him at [email protected]. He only answers those that are published. To see Honk online: X, formerly Twitter: @OCRegisterHonk

    ​ Orange County Register