Under Texas law, it's legal for people over the age of 18 to ride in an open bed of a pickup truck. However, just because it's legal doesn't mean it's safe.
Even minor obstacles on the roadway (such as potholes or debris) can cause bumps that lead to injury. If the pickup is involved in a collision (for example, if it's hit by a drunk driver), then passengers riding in the bed risk even more severe injuries, like being ejected from the truck or crushed under or between the two vehicles.
Passengers injured in a pickup crash may be entitled to make a civil claim for compensation. Click here for more information.
The Law Concerning Children Riding in a Pickup Bed
Under Texas law, children under the age of 18 may ride in the back of a pickup truck, but only under certain circumstances; generally only if the truck is the only family vehicle available. Other exceptions to these legal restrictions include pickups being used in parades, hay rides or on beaches. It is also permissible for all people to be a passenger in the cargo area of a pickup truck when the vehicle is being used in the case of an emergency or is used in farm operations.
Related Article: Auto Accidents Involving Children
Legal Implications of Allowing a Passenger to Ride in the Back of a Pickup
Despite the law permitting passengers to ride in the back of a pickup truck, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be held legally responsible if they are injured as the result of a traffic collision – or your poor driving.
Drivers in Texas have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of all occupants of their vehicle, so if someone riding in your pickup’s bed suffers an injury or is killed while you are behind the wheel, they or their family have a right to sue you for compensation depending on the circumstances. This issue can become even more complex if the passenger(s) riding in the pickup bed were employed by you or if the accident occurred while you were on-the-job.
Improving the Safety of Pickup Trucks for Passengers
If you plan to regularly accommodate passengers in the pickup truck's bed, it makes sense to invest in their safety. One way to improve their safety is to add a cab and seat belts which will provide them with valuable protection. The costs for installing such safety features can vary, but it is a small price to better ensure their safety and to protect yourself from legal action in the event of a pickup truck wreck.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a pickup truck accident in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, please contact our board certified personal injury attorneys for a free, no obligation consultation on your case.
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