Restrictions should apply to truck beds
Now that the recent "Click It or Ticket" campaign is over, lawmakers should direct their attention to passengers in pickup trucks.
The past month of the federally funded "Click It or Ticket" campaign has reminded motorists and passengers to buckle up, but the more vulnerable travelers are those sitting unrestrained in the beds of pickup trucks. Legislation is needed to lessen this risk.
A state law banning passengers 12 years old or younger from riding in a truck bed was enacted in 1997. Mothers Against Drunk Driving promised to try afterward to extend the ban to all passengers in the beds of trucks, but the danger continues.
The 2006 deaths of four women who were riding in a pickup truck bed with a makeshift cover on Kunia Road prompted no legislative action. Rep. Barbara Marumoto's proposal to ban people of all ages from riding in truck beds was ignored in the past two legislative sessions.
Every state but one requires people inside vehicles to be belted, but 20 states have no restriction against riding unrestrained in truck beds. Most other states, like Hawaii, prohibit children from riding in the backs of trucks. Colorado allows it if the cargo area is enclosed on all sides.
Marumoto's bill might have failed because it encompassed too much - requiring the wearing of helmets in order to drive bikes or motorcycles, mandating video screens behind the driver, prohibiting use of cell phones except those that are hands-free and prohibiting operations of portable media players while driving.
A proposed ban on riding unrestrained in truck beds might gain consideration if proposed in a separate bill. Requiring people to buckle up inside a car makes little sense when they can ride unprotected in truck beds.
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