Accident prompts discussion of pickup truck passenger laws

Published 4:45 pm Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Alabama’s laws concerning people riding in the back of pickup trucks have come into question following a fatal accident Sunday afternoon in Guntersville that involved a truck full of teenagers.

Alabama is one of 19 states that does not have a law banning people from riding in the cargo bed of pickup trucks. Alabama does, however, have a law stating that children 14 and under must be restrained in a safety belt while riding in a vehicle.

Demopolis Police Department Chief Tommie Reese said that although there is no law concerning this, it is strongly encouraged that people do not ride in the back of trucks.

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“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” Reese said. “We haven’t seen a lot of it in this area over the years, but it is very dangerous. We don’t encourage anyone to ride in the back of a truck. We used to do it back in the day, but there were fewer cars on the road and fewer distractions. We just didn’t know then what we do now.”

He added that he believes the law will be revisited because of the accident that claimed the lives of four young people and injured five others.

“If a truck is hit from behind with someone riding in the back, they could be seriously injured,” he said, “and if a truck rolls, the occupant in the back will be ejected. We just ask people to use common sense. I think we need to revisit this for public roadways. If you’re on a farm or something, that’s your own business, but it’s just not safe on public roads.”