NY driver tries using carpool lane by masking headrest


A Long Island man attached a drama mask to his passenger headrest to use the HOV lane on the Long Island Expressway on June 2, 2021, police say.

COMMACK, N.Y. (PIX11) — A Long Islander was pulled over and cited on the Long Island Expressway (LIE) Wednesday after driving alone in the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane with a mask on his passenger seat’s headrest, police said.

A highway patrol officer was driving on the LIE—just before the Sagtikos Parkway at exit 52—when he said he became suspicious of the front passenger of a Nissan sedan he saw traveling in the HOV lane. The officer pulled the car over around 7:15 p.m. and said he saw that the driver, 20-year-old Justin Kunis of Lake Grove, had attached a neutral mask to the front of his passenger seat headrest.

The blank, white neutral mask—recognizable as a version of the iconic comedy and drama masks—apparently was an attempt to make it seem as though there were a living passenger in the vehicle. On weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., and again from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.—rush hour—HOV lanes are only for cars with more than one occupant, low-emission and energy-efficient vehicles, and buses and motorcycles.

Officials said Kunis was issued a summons for the HOV occupancy violation.

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