Tahlequah Daily Press

June 19, 2013

Fatalities could raise new concerns about riding in the back of pickups

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — A spokesman for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol says troopers “strongly discourage” people from riding in truck beds, although state law doesn’t specifically restrict them from doing so.

OHP Capt. George Brown said riding in a truck’s bed poses an “extreme danger to everyone involved.”

While Oklahoma law doesn’t specifically forbid the practice, officers do have the ability to check on young passengers and whether they are properly restrained.

“The Oklahoma mandatory seat belt and child restraint laws give officers the authority to stop and check the age of children and infants who are required to be in a properly adjusted safety belt system or child restraint,” said Brown.

Children under age 6 are required by state law to be in a child-passenger restraint system that meets state and federal standards. Children who are at least 6 and younger than 13 years old must be protected by use of a child-passenger restraint system or a properly used seat belt.

Under state statutes, a violation of the restraint laws for children under age 13 can result in a $50 fine and court costs.