SACRAMENTO (CBSLA) – The California Highway Patrol has a simple message for drivers: don’t be a dummy.

The CHP is stepping up efforts to crack down on drivers who try to cheat their way into carpool lanes – including at least one who placed a mannequin in the front passenger seat.

Authorities say the man and a dummy dressed up like the Venom comic book character were driving westbound in the HOV lane on Highway 4 in Contra Costa County when a CHP officer pulled them over.

The result? An embarrassing moment on the freeway and a $400 ticket to boot.

According to the CHP, the driver apparently argued that there was no other place in the vehicle to position the dummy, but officers weren’t buying it.

The post read in part: “Shame on you. Then you try to tell our Officer ’there’s No room‘ for your VENOM look a like doll?! Riiiiiight. We like Marvel characters too but don’t pretend like you’re not trying to cheat the system…. here’s your CARPOOL ticket.”

While it’s not the first time this has happened, authorities say it could become more common after nearly a quarter-million California drivers who received HOV lane privileges for buying “clean airs” will no longer be able to drive solo in the fast lane.

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