Many people enjoy the thrill of riding in the bed of a pickup truck. Unfortunately, as fun as it may be, it’s also dangerous.
While 30 states, including Florida, have at least some legislation regarding passengers riding in the beds of trucks, some don’t. In fact, there are 20 states that have no laws against riding in the bed of a truck. This has led to hundreds of deaths and thousands more injuries.
If you’ve been injured in a truck bed accident, you should consult with one of the personal injury attorneys at Heintz & Becker as soon as possible. This is because truck bed injury and death cases can get complicated quickly.
While the person driving the truck may not be at-fault for the accident, they could be held liable for putting someone in danger by allowing them to ride in the bed in the first place. However, the insurance company may claim the individual riding in the truck made that decision on their own and is responsible for their own injuries.
Can You Ride In A Truck Bed In Florida?
Florida has some legislation regarding who can and can’t ride in a truck bed. Florida law states that it is illegal for minors under the age of 18 to ride in a truck bed unless they are restrained in a seat.
Unfortunately, riding in the bed of a truck isn’t banned entirely. Anyone over the age of 18 can ride in a truck bed and children can too if they are accompanied by an adult in an emergency medical situation. Violation of the truck bed law will result in a citation for a non-moving violation.
Why Truck Beds Are Unsafe
Truck beds are dangerous for many reasons. They were never designed to carry passengers and aren’t built to provide any protection. Reasons truck beds are dangerous include:
- Lack of seat belts. There’s nothing to keep a passenger anchored to the vehicle in a crash.
- Truck beds can be slippery. Most truck beds are made out of durable plastic. This material provides little grip and can become treacherous if the truck bed is wet.
- Ejection is common in truck bed accidents. Without seat belts or anything to hold on to, passengers in the bed of a truck are often ejected from the vehicle in an accident.
- Rear-end collisions can launch passengers forward. When a truck is struck from behind, the other vehicle can get stuck underneath the bed of the truck, lifting it up quickly like a catapult. Any passengers in the bed during a rear-end collision will be thrown over the front of the truck and risk serious injury from being run over.
- Side-impact collisions can cause trucks to roll. In a rollover accident, passengers riding in a truck bed are either thrown from the vehicle or pinned underneath it when it rolls.
- Exposure to carbon monoxide. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), passengers in covered pickup truck beds are exposed to dangerous carbon monoxide fumes. This can cause headaches, vertigo, and, in severe cases, death.
Even if the driver of the truck is being careful or driving slowly, accidents can happen. Your only hope of surviving an accident while riding in the bed of a truck is to hold on to the edge of the bed for dear life.
Facts About Truck Bed Accidents
If you aren’t convinced about the danger of riding in a truck bed, consider the following facts:
- The Children’s Safety Network says approximately 50 people under the age of 21 are killed while riding in pickup truck beds each year in the U.S.
- According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, people who ride in the bed of a truck are three times more likely to be killed than someone riding in the cab.
- The NHTSA reports more than half of truck bed accident deaths are children and teens.
- Most non-collision deaths are the result of falls caused by swerving, braking, or bumpy roads.
- In 2009, 175 people were injured and 9 were killed in Florida alone. Five of the 9 deaths were teenagers between 15 and 19 years old.
Injuries From A Truck Bed Accident
There are a variety of injuries that can occur from being thrown out of a truck bed, from minor scrapes and bruises to death. Below are some of the devastating injuries that can happen to truck bed passengers:
- Internal organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Broken bones
- Severe road rash
Consult a Truck Bed Accident Attorney
Whether you can file a lawsuit in a truck bed accident depends on the details of the incident. One thing is certain; you don’t want to take on a case like this by yourself. Our lawyers can evaluate your case and fight to recover compensation for your damages. If you or a loved on has been injured or killed while riding in the bed of a truck, call Heintz & Becker at 941-748-2916 to schedule your free consultation.