Think Before You Ride In the Back of a Pickup Truck

people riding in bed of truckMany people are not strangers to riding in the back of a pickup truck at least once in their life. Maybe you have some fond memories of riding in the back of the family pickup during your childhood or loved the feeling of the wind blowing through your hair while enjoying a ride. Although it is not the safest decision, it still happens all the time. But, as free as the ride in the back of a pickup truck may make you feel, it is extremely dangerous.

I am always in awe at the pure ignorance when I see passengers riding in the back of a pickup truck. The beds of trucks were designed to carry cargo, not passengers. If they were, they would be equipped with seats, seatbelts, airbags, and other vehicular safety measures. When you ride in the back of a truck there is nothing to protect you and nothing to grab onto. All you can do is hold on for dear life to avoid being shoved around or possibly ejected from the vehicle.

Just because you are going for a joyride on a country road or parading around the neighborhood does not make the situation any less dangerous. Accidents can happen at any time and at any speed. In fact, you can still be injured absent a collision. Simply making a sharp turn or a sudden stop or rolling over a speed bump can jolt the passenger riding in the bed of a vehicle. One wrong move could change the rest of your life.

I could warn you of many reasons as to why riding in the back of a truck is dangerous, including:

No seatbelt. Because there are no seatbelts in the beds of trucks, there is nothing to keep the passenger secured in the event of a crash or sharp movement of the vehicle.
Rear-end collision. When a vehicle is hit from the rear, those riding in the bed of the truck are most likely to be injured by being crushed or flung because of the direct impact of the other vehicle.
Head-on collision. A head on collision causes the vehicle to come to a halt, which may cause passengers in the bed of the truck to be ejected or pushed through the back windshield of the truck.
Side-impact collision. If the vehicle is struck from the side, the impact may cause the truck to roll leaving the unanchored passenger being thrown from the truck or pinned under the vehicle.
Exposure to carbon monoxide. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), riding in the bed of a pickup truck can expose the passenger to exhaust fumes causing headaches, dizziness, vertigo, and sometimes more serious injuries.

boy buckling seatbelt

Injuries that may be sustained from an accident while riding in the back of a pickup truck can vary from minor cuts and bruises to death. Common injuries include internal bleeding, traumatic brain injuries, permanent disfigurement, internal organ damage, and neck and back injuries. Although some states still do not have laws against riding in the bed of a truck, many states, including Louisiana, have at least some legislation in place restricting passengers from riding in the back of trucks.

La. R.S. § 32:284 states that no person is permitted to ride in the back of a pickup truck traveling on any Louisiana highway. Further, no child under the age of twelve years is permitted to be a passenger in the open bed of a truck or utility trailer while riding on the highway. The only exception to this statute is if:

– the pickup truck is traveling at less than 15 miles per hour while participating in an authorized parade in a controlled situation, or
– an emergency situation is present, and any child is accompanied by an adult in the bed of the truck

When you make the choice to ride in the back of a pickup truck, you assume the risk. The driver of the truck may also be held liable for allowing a passenger to ride in the back of their vehicle and putting someone else in danger. If you are injured while riding in the bed of a pickup truck, you may still file a claim for your injuries; however, your recovery may be reduced. The insurance company will likely argue that you are partly to blame for willingly putting yourself in a risky situation. This is due to Louisiana’s comparative fault laws which reduces the injured party’s recovery by any percentage of their own fault in causing the accident.

No matter how slow the vehicle is going or how safe you think you are being, an accident can still occur. Remember to be a smart driver and an even smarter passenger. Avoid sitting or standing in the back of a moving truck at all costs.

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If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident and would like to discuss your case, contact us today for a free consultation. PHONE CARDONE at 504-522-3333 or 1-888-892-2736 or email us at ccardone@cardonelaw.com.

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