August 21, 2007

It's against the law

Woman dies after falling from pickup on I-95

Another person is dead after riding in the back of a pickup truck.

The auto industry has spent billions of dollars making our vehicles safer; improved bumpers, cages built into the passenger cabin, seat belts, air-bags, and even side impact bags. All these features have made our vehicles tremendously safer.

But only if you're riding in the passenger compartment.

In this case, someone fell off the back of the truck; more often the truck is involved in a collision and the passengers in the truck bed are sent flying. Sometimes they survive. Sometimes they can even walk again, eventually. Sometimes.

It is illegal to ride in the bed of a pickup truck, or the back of a delivery truck. In fact it's illegal to ride anywhere on a vehicle not specifically designed to seat passengers.

This is illegal!!!

We see people riding in the backs of trucks ALL THE TIME. A family coming back from a fishing trip, or some gardeners riding in the back of a step-van with their lawn mowers. I've seen police cars and FHP cruisers sliding past these trucks without a flicker of interest.

Don't believe that it's against the law? Here's the relevant law:

316.2015 Unlawful for person to ride on exterior of vehicle.--
(1) It is unlawful for any operator of a passenger vehicle to permit any person to ride on the bumper, radiator, fender, hood, top, trunk, or running board of such vehicle when operated upon any street or highway which is maintained by the state, county, or municipality. Any person who violates thissubsection shall be cited for a moving violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318.
(2)(a) No person shallride on any vehicle upon any portion thereof not designed or intendedfor the use of passengers. This paragraph does not apply to an employeeof a fire department, an employee of a governmentally operated solidwaste disposal department or a waste disposal service operatingpursuant to a contract with a governmental entity, or to a volunteerfirefighter when the employee or firefighter is engaged in thenecessary discharge of a duty, and does not apply to a person who isbeing transported in response to an emergency by a public agency orpursuant to the direction or authority of a public agency. This paragraph does not apply to an employee engaged in the necessarydischarge of a duty or to a person or persons riding within truckbodies in space intended for merchandise.

If you OWN a pickup, don't let people ride in the back, PARTICULARLY if you are heading out on the highway. And if you're a cop, pull the morons over and write'em a ticket. The law can't protect ANYONE if it's not being enforced.


  1. Did you read what you posted?

    "This paragraph does not apply to an employee engaged in the necessary discharge of a duty or to a person or persons riding within truckbodies in space intended for merchandise."

    This cleary states that it's alright to ride in the back because it's intended for merchandise.

  2. Hmm, did I read what I wrote? Yes.

    I suppose this is an attempt at humor. The "intended for merchandise" section actually applies to step-vans: you know, like a Mr. Softee truck, or a catering truck with a serving window.