Bill presented to Utah legislature to allow pregnant women to use HOV lane fails in Senate

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Feb. 13, 2023 update:

HB256 failed in the Senate committee on Feb. 13. The bill had passed in the House in a 49-23 vote on Feb. 3. The bill was met with debates on abortion laws to arguments about the purpose of an HOV lane. House and Senate debates and deliberations about other bills are still ongoing. 

The HOV lane is reserved for vehicles with two or more riders or individuals who pay a toll, but now a bill presented in the state legislature is challenging who is considered two individuals. 

Representative Stephanie Gricius and Senator Michael Kennedy presented HB256, named Carpool Lane Usage Modifications. The bill claims that pregnant individuals should be considered as two people and that the pregnant person should be able to drive in the HOV lane. 

“I think it’s a really weird way of going about helping pregnant people, which makes me think it’s really not about pregnant people, it’s just about whether this is another person inside of us,” said Morgan Roberts, a soon-to-be mother.

The bill requires pregnant individuals to obtain medical documentation from a licensed physician who can attest to the pregnancy. They can then use this to dispute the citation.

Recent events with the federal government have initiated arguments about whether or not a fetus is considered a person. After the overturn of roe v. wade… states are now able to decide laws on issues such as abortion. 

“This is about making it easier for mothers, if it is also making some sort of political statement I think that’s fine because ultimately it’s gonna make things easier for the mother as well,” said BYU Republicans President Isaac Grow. 

The house and senate are debating many different bills, but this bill on pregnant individuals using HOV lanes may be enough to open discussion into other fetal and pregnancy laws. 

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