Is Riding in the Bed of a Pickup Truck Legal in Georgia?

In the 1980s and even 1990s, seeing adults and children riding in the bed of a pick-up truck was normal. It was something people “just did.” However, that doesn’t mean it was safe – or legal.

Today, Georgia has explicit laws on this matter – what’s legal and what’s not. Understanding these laws can help you avoid breaking them and facing a traffic ticket and other consequences.

Along with understanding the laws, it’s also beneficial to understand that you have rights if you are injured while riding in the back of a pick-up truck. Our car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Matthew C. Hines, can investigate your case and help you recover compensation for your injuries and losses.

Georgia Law for Riding in the Bed of Pick-up Trucks

It’s recommended that anyone under the age of 18 rides in the cab of a truck with a seat belt. However, it’s only considered illegal to ride in the bed of a truck for those under 18 on an interstate highway. It’s not illegal for 16 and 17-year-olds to ride in the bed of a pick-up truck if the truck is not on an interstate highway.

Potential Injuries to Those Riding in a Pick-Up Truck Bed

While it’s legal for most people to ride in the bed of a truck in Georgia, it doesn’t mean it’s safe or something you should do. It’s considered a risky driving behavior.

If an accident occurs, and you are in the bed of a truck, there’s no protection from the road and other elements. As a result, these accidents usually cause serious injuries and fatalities.

The design of a pick-up truck is clear – people in the cab, cargo in the bed. There aren’t any safety seats, seat belts, or other restraints in the bed. While accidents can cause serious injuries (as mentioned above), injuries can occur even without a collision. Even at low speeds, trucks swerving to miss a hazard or going around a curve can jolt those in the bed and throw them out of the truck completely.

The potential injuries vary depending on the situation, but some of the most common include:

  • Whiplash injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Concussions
  • Dislocated or broken bones
  • Open head wounds
  • Internal bleeding
  • Severe lacerations
  • Internal organ damage
  • Amputations

If you experience this incident and survive, you may have a long recovery period. In some situations, you may never fully recover from the injuries you sustain in the accident. Additionally, medical costs from these injuries can be significant and reach six figures or more. You may also experience significant pain and suffering because of your injuries.

Is There a Safe Way to Ride in a Pick-Up Truck Bed?

You can find aftermarket seats being sold that can be installed in the back of a pick-up truck. These are made with seat belts to help improve safety for those riding in the bed. While these are available, they have not been officially tested or federally approved. It’s best to avoid using these due to the potential of even more injuries in an accident. Also, there’s still no protection from a rollover accident or something similar.

What Are the Consequences for Breaking Georgia’s Pick-Up Law?

You can face serious consequences if you don’t adhere to the abovementioned law. It is a misdemeanor traffic offense if you are pulled over for having someone underage in the bed of a pick-up truck.

The consequences of this include up to a 12-month sentence in jail and fines of up to $1,000. While jail time is possible, most people who are pulled over for this offense will not (usually) face more than a fine. You also get three points on your driving record if convicted of this offense.

Protecting Yourself and Your Rights

It’s important to note that if you have been pulled over and cited for having a minor in the bed of a truck without a seat belt, our legal team at the Law Offices of Matthew C. Hines can help. We can provide you with the legal representation you need to fight the citation and reduce the penalties and consequences you face.

Along with helping those who have received a citation for this offense, our car accident lawyers can also provide representation for accident victims who have been injured due to an accident while riding in the back of a pick-up truck. We will investigate the cause of the accident to hold the responsible party liable and help ensure you receive maximum compensation for your accident-related losses and injuries. Contact us for a free consultation.

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