Local Connection: Pick-up Truck Law?

Local Connection: Pick-up Truck Law?

By Rick Blangiardi

This weekend three young men died when they were thrown from the back of a pick-up truck on Maui. A terrible tragedy and first of all…our hearts are with their families and friends.

It's a gruesome reminder of how vulnerable people are when they ride unprotected on a vehicle.

It's the kind of story that will lead to calls for tougher laws.

But rather than a knee-jerk reaction this is something to think through.

First of all - will a new law really save many lives?

We actually haven't had all that many truck-bed fatalities here… rarely more than two or three in a year…far more people die on motorcycles or walking in crosswalks.

And there are also some good reasons for people to hop in the back of a truck for a quick ride - for example on most farms it's a routine and efficient way for workers to get around.

It takes two people to decide when a pick-up bed is OK for human transportation. The rider should consider the consequences of an accident for themselves and their family. Drivers should know that their cargo is precious and exercise higher caution. It's a decision adults can make for themselves.

But for children… it's a different story. Most kids under 18 don't have the maturity and poise to turn down the enticing offer of a ride in a truck…or get a reckless driver to back off. Hawaii allows kids as young as 13 in pick-up beds…and we've all seen kids younger than that exposed to this danger.

Although the recent accident involved adults…it should cause us to think about our children…and protect them. Let's not wait for another tragedy to act.

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