One scene of carefree, summertime fun we’ve all seen either on the big screen or in real life is an open pickup truck bed full of passengers enjoying the open air. But is it legal to ride in the back of a truck like this in Georgia? Read also: Avoid Tractor-Trailer Injuries
Like most laws, the answer to that question is nuanced. Georgia state code 40-8-79 makes two things clear: If you’re driving a truck with passengers under the age of 18 in an open truck bed and you’re on an interstate highway, you’re committing a misdemeanor. There are seven primary and eight auxiliary interstate highways in the state with two more in the works.
While that leaves some room for those older than 18 to ride in the truck bed on the interstate or those younger than 18 to do so while not on the interstate, it’s still not a great idea. What’s legal and what’s safe often go hand-in-hand, but not always.
For instance, depending on the interstate you’re on in Georgia, you can go 55, 65, or 75 miles per hour.
As we’ve mentioned in previous newsletters, high speeds can cause serious damage to your vehicle and your body, and that’s assuming you’re buckled up inside a vehicle.,” said Marietta accident lawyer Ramiro Rodriguez, Jr.
Most truck beds don’t include seat belts or other restraints, so getting in a collision could mean that anyone sitting back there gets thrown from the vehicle and seriously injured. Worst-case scenario, these accidents can be fatal.
Depending on where you grew up, you may not be familiar with Georgia’s law. Even many locals don’t know it! And that’s no surprise because 19 states don’t have any laws addressing this, and the remaining 31 states’ laws are all different. The bottom line is that riding in a pickup truck bed is best left to slow-moving parade vehicles. And if you’re on the interstate and have passengers under 18, make sure they’re safely buckled up inside!