Is 12 too young to ride in the bed of trucks?

Local News

How old should someone be to ride in the bed of a pickup truck?

It’s a common sight to see people riding there and most of the time, you don’t think too much about it until you hear things like this:

“We know just from our national (statistics) that the highest cause of death of children under the age of 18 is unintentional from motor vehicle accidents,” said Dr. Melissa Schmidt, an emergency medicine physician at Queen’s Medical Center.

So is it something hospitals see a lot of?

“We see a lot of motor vehicle accidents that include patients and young children that do fall out of the back,” said Schmidt.

That’s why lawmakers are introducing a bill that would change the current law.

Right now, children 12 and under are not allowed to sit in the back of a truck, but if SB345 passes, the law would change that limit to 18 years old and under.

“I think it’s a good idea that they would increase the age,” said J.R. Harrison, “because kids that are under 18 don’t necessarily have the wisdom to think out the consequences of if a truck gets into an accident.”

According to the Department of Health, since 1996, 33 people have been killed while riding in the back of a pickup truck.

“My overall thought is that it’s not a good idea for anyone of any age to be sitting in the back of a truck unrestrained,” said Harrison.

The Hawaii Association for Justice submitted testimony for the bill, saying they agree with increasing the age to 18, but have some concerns with the proposed bill.


§291-14 Pickup trucks; passenger restrictions.

(a) No person shall stand in the bed or load-carrying area of any motor vehicle commonly known as a pickup truck while the vehicle is in operation. No operator of any pickup truck shall operate the vehicle with a passenger seated in the bed or load-carrying area of the vehicle unless:

(1) There is no seating available in the cab of the vehicle;

(2) The side racks of the vehicle are securely attached and the tailboard or tailgate is securely closed;

(3) Every passenger in the bed or load-carrying area of the vehicle is seated on the floor and does not attempt to control unlashed cargo.

(b) This section shall not apply to persons or corporations operating a business or businesses that serve the public, who or which are subject to the jurisdiction, supervision, and regulations prescribed by state agencies or departments nor to their agents or employees when engaged in the business of such persons or corporations.

(c) No operator of any pickup truck may operate the vehicle with any passenger twelve years of age or under in the bed or load-carrying area of the vehicle, unless one of the following applies:

(1) An emergency exists that threatens the life of the passenger being transported in the bed or load-carrying area of the vehicle; or

(2) The vehicle is being operated in parades, caravans, or exhibitions which are officially authorized or otherwise permitted by law.

(d) Any person who violates this section shall be subject to a fine of $25 for each violation; provided that any person who violates subsection (c) shall be subject to a fine of $50 for each separate violation.

(e) As used in this section, “pickup truck” means a light truck that has a cab on the front part of the vehicle covering the driver’s seat and an open bed behind the cab designed primarily to transport property or cargo, with sides and a tailgate to retain the contents within the confines of the bed, and has a maximum gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 11,000 pounds or less. [L 1989, c 167, §1; am L 1990, c 122, §1; am L 1997, c 60, §6 and c 105, §1]

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