Police in Nevada have confirmed you do, in fact, have to be alive to be counted as a passenger in a car.
Nevada Highway Patrol's Southern Command shared on Twitter they had pulled over a hearse Monday for trying to drive in the high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane on Interstate 15 near Las Vegas with only one passenger -- unfortunately, they were in a casket.
"Today we stopped a local funereal home hearse in the HOV lane," the Nevada Highway Patrol wrote in a tweet. "The driver had the dearly departed in the back, he thought the deceased could be counted as two people. I guess we should clarify this, living, breathing people count for the HOV lane."
Today we stopped a local funereal home hearse in the HOV lane. The driver had the dearly departed in the back, he thought the deceased could be counted as two people. I guess we should clarify this, living, breathing people count for the HOV lane. The driver was given a warning pic.twitter.com/OQms0ktl8t— NHP Southern Command (@NHPSouthernComm) July 1, 2019
The driver will not be charged. The police were nice enough to let him off with a warning.
Video of the incident from the officer's body cam shows him approach the hearse and ask for the driver's vehicle and registration. The driver informs him, "I have a deceased in the back."
"Tell you what, I'll go ahead and give you a warning today, but I'll warn you we're working the HOV lanes pretty heavy today," the officer warns.
The driver asks about the deceased counting for the HOV lane and the cop responds, "He's not with us anymore."
Nevada updated its laws on HOV lane just last year. The highway patrol also just began new enforcement on the first day of summer, handing out 31 fines on one day as part of an increased enforcement plan, according to Las Vegas ABC affiliate KTNV.
The fine for illegally driving in an HOV lane is $250.
Nevada's information about HOV lanes does not technically mention whether a dead body counts as a passenger. The law mentions qualifying vehicles for HOV lanes as those "transporting more than one person." It also includes motorcycles, regardless of passengers; buses; and certain electric or low-emission vehicles.
The hearse pictured in the highway patrol's tweet was not the actual hearse pulled over.