An unusual trend is emerging on motorways as drivers have been observed resorting to an unconventional tactic to dodge local road rules. Commuters on the Eastern Freeway in Melbourne have been spotted using lifelike dolls as pretend passengers in order to qualify for faster transit lanes.
A photo of what appears to be a sex doll seated in the passenger seat of a car traveling in the T2 transit lane, which is designated for cars holding at least one passenger, has gone viral on Reddit. The post was shared by a fellow road user who questioned whether others had also noticed this peculiar sight.
"Anyone else seeing people travelling in Eastern transit lane with dolls?" the Reddit user asked, with an accompanying image of a man driving his vehicle with a dummy strapped into the seat beside him.
Motorists buying sex dolls in record numbers
Marketing manager of Wild Secrets, Adam Lea, has revealed to the Herald Sun that persistent congestion on Melbourne roads has proven to be a boon for his adult toy business, with customers admitting to purchasing sex dolls to use in T2 and T3 transit lanes. "The awful traffic on the Eastern has resulted in a coup for us," he said.
Mr Lea said that recent demand for the $5,500 silicone doll named Donna has exceeded anything the retailer has experienced in its 30-year history. It's believed that a promotional image depicting the doll seated behind the wheel of a car inspired scores of motorists to purchase the life-like product.
While some Reddit users praised the Melbourne motorist for his ingenuity, others speculated about the driver's potential intimate relationship with the doll. That excuse didn't convince most, however, particularly since this tactic has long been used around the world in a cheeky effort to evade traffic regulations.
The Wall Street Journal exposed similar carpool crooks, reporting that there are whole police units across the US dedicated to catching drivers engaging in the practice. Dummy passengers have been recorded riding shotgun across New York, California and Florida, with one man reportedly using a mannequin to access the transit lane for more than 18 months before getting caught.
What the law says
Locally, VicRoads explicitly prohibits the use of sex dolls in T2 and T3 transit lanes, with its website stating that these lanes are reserved for vehicles with a defined minimum number of occupants, who must be actual people and not pets or mannequins. Non-compliance with the rule attracts a $184 fine, and the maximum court penalty is $554.
Speaking to Yahoo News, a spokesperson for VicRoads urged motorists to comply with the law, stating, "Fines apply for not following the rules – but more importantly we ask people to use a common sense approach."
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.