Arizona House bill would allow pregnant drivers to use HOV lane

The bill's sponsor, Republican Matt Gress, says the proposed bill also covers pregnant transgender men.
Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 2:09 PM MST|Updated: Feb. 1, 2023 at 6:31 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — A bill introduced in the Arizona House of Representatives would allow pregnant women to drive in the HOV carpool lane during prime driving hours.

House Bill 2417, introduced by Rep. Matt Gress, a Republican from Phoenix, and co-sponsored by House Majority Whip Teresa Martinez, a Republican from Casa Grande, counts pregnant women as two people. It would allow them unrestricted access to the HOV lane during the busy hours of 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Women would have to confirm their pregnancy with a health care professional who would then inform the Arizona Department of Transportation. Pregnant transgender men could also use the lane as part of the bill, says Gress, a member of the LGBTQ community. He says the bill could be carried out with a process already in place for drivers with disabilities. “There would be a placard for expecting moms,” he says. “You’d be able to put up on the rearview mirror that signals law enforcement that this driver is expecting a child. There are two lives and she’s allowed to be in the HOV lane.”

“I believe in a fair application of our HOV laws,” Gress continues. “Where you have more than one person in the car, you get to use the HOV lane. I’m going to support the mom and I’m going to support her baby. To me, this is a good pro-life bill that supports women and children. I think it has the added benefit of again helping expecting moms get to their place in a safe fashion as quickly as you can.”

The bill would have to go through the House’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where Martinez serves as vice-chair. The committee consists of five Democrats and six Republicans.

After the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade last summer, local governments had to figure out how to reconcile existing state laws. In Arizona, an appeals court ruled the state can impose the recent ban on abortion after 15 weeks but cannot impose a near-total abortion ban imposed when the state was a territory. The law’s overturning inspired a woman in Texas to argue that her unborn child was a passenger.

Gress is originally from Oklahoma and is pro-life but accepts abortion for rape, incest, and saving the mother’s life. Previously, he introduced a bill that would allow 18-year-olds to run for office, but that bill has stalled in both the Rules and Government committees.