Bill to allow pregnant women to use HOV lanes fails

Posted at 11:43 AM, Feb 13, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that would have allowed pregnant women to use HOV lanes in Utah failed in a Senate committee Monday morning.

House Bill 256 would have given expecting women in Utah an added perk when riding on some highways across the state as they would have been allowed to use the HOV lanes, which are reserved for vehicles with two or more passengers.

Under the bill, if a pregnant woman got a ticket, they could take proof of pregnancy to a judge and traffic violations would be dismissed.

The bill was favored by anti-abortion groups, who believed it sends a message that Utah is "pro-life." However, the sponsor of the bill said her intentions weren't focused on abortion issues.

"We do know if we move some of these women in the HOV lane it clears up congestion and has a positive impact on air quality," Rep. Stephanie Gricius, R-Eagle Mountain said. "We do know a woman who is pregnant might need to find a bathroom five minutes earlier. There are multiple benefits."

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The bill initially passed out of the House Transportation committee despite a concern from a lawmaker that the bill would abuse carpool lanes.

However, the bill was short-lived as it failed in a Senate committee in a 3-2 vote.

Rep. Gricius said she is considering bringing the bill forward in the future but not this legislative session.