Riding in Back: Are Kids Safe?

1-13-05 – Questions are being raised about Oklahoma’s laws on passengers in the bed of pickup trucks after five children were injured in an accident Tuesday.

The accident happened on Highway 3 in Lehigh, Oklahoma. Five children, ages 5 to 9, were riding in the bed of truck when it was hit by another car. Two of the children were flown by medical helicopter to an Oklahoma City hospital in critical condition. The other three were also taken to local hospitals.

In Oklahoma, state law says it is legal for passengers to ride in the bed if they are 13 years old or older. However, there is a loophole. Oklahoma law states that a child of any age can ride in the back as long as all the seats in the cab are occupied.

In Texas, the age limit was increased two years ago to 18. The Department of Public Safety says the increase was a life-saving move.

There are no immediate plans for change in Oklahoma, but the State Representative for Coal County, Paul Roan, told First News he supports a bill raising the legal age limit for truck bed passengers in the State.