Riding in the Bed of a Truck: People are not Cargo!

As a kid growing up, one of my favorite memories was riding in the bed of my grandfathers pickup truck and hanging on the steel racks while the truck drove along the road. Looking back, however, cruising along the road riding in the bed of a pickup truck is extremely dangerous and I was lucky that I wasn’t seriously injured.

Unfortunately, this incident is not isolated to my childhood. At construction sites and in many Southern states, such as Texas, it is much more convenient and fun to transport several people in the bed of a truck rather than taking multiple cars. Although there are federal standards in place to protect car passengers during a crash, there are no such standards in place for the bed area of pickup trucks because they are designed to carry cargo, not people.Currently, 30 states and the District of Columbia have laws in place to restrict riding in cargo areas of pickup trucks. Although most of these laws were passed to protect children, they serve as a stark warning for adults as well. As a parent, neither you nor your child should ever ride in the back of a pickup truck, even if you are traveling a short distance.Here are three facts about the dangers of riding in the bed of a truck:

1. No Seat Belts

Because pickup truck beds are designed to store cargo, not people, there are no seat belts, meaning that minor bumps or swerves can be fatal. In fact, according to the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, most non-collision deaths in a pickup truck are caused by swerving, braking or rough roads ordinary road conditions and occurrences that would not be dangerous if passengers were properly restrained.

2. Risk of Ejection

In the event of sudden braking, riding in the bed of a pickup truck significantly increases the risk a passenger will be ejected, turning a minor non-life threatening accident into a fatal collision. Even at slower speeds, falling out of a pick up truck can be deadly.

3. Carbon Monoxide

According to the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, children in covered pickup beds can be exposed to carbon monoxide, a toxic chemical that can cause headaches, vertigo, depression and even death.

So remember, people are not cargo. Buckle up, every time and every trip.