Tennessee's laws for riding in truck beds are limited

Tennessee's laws for riding in truck beds are limited

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Passengers riding in a car are required to wear a seatbelt in Tennessee, but the laws are different for riding in a bed of a pickup truck. Passengers riding in a car are required to wear a seatbelt in Tennessee, but the laws are different for riding in a bed of a pickup truck.
"If it's a city route, a city street or a county road, as long as they're at least six they can legally ride in the back of a pickup truck," explained Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. Don Boshears. "If it's a city route, a city street or a county road, as long as they're at least six they can legally ride in the back of a pickup truck," explained Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. Don Boshears.
"Just landing on the ground is enough to kill you or make you not live the life you wanted to live," said AAA Tennessee Director of Public Affairs Don Lindsey. "Just landing on the ground is enough to kill you or make you not live the life you wanted to live," said AAA Tennessee Director of Public Affairs Don Lindsey.

By SAMANTHA SARACINO
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Passengers riding in a car are required to wear a seatbelt in Tennessee, but the laws are different for riding in a bed of a pickup truck. There the law only covers children.

An Oak Ridge teen died Monday after falling off a pickup truck.

"If it's the interstate system or a road designated as a state highway system, they have to be at least 12 years old. If it's a city route, a city street or a county road, as long as they're at least six they can legally ride in the back of a pickup truck," explained Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. Don Boshears.

There are some exceptions to this law.

"If it's a parade, as long as the speed of the vehicle isn't going to be more than 20 miles per hour, you can go under that age limit. If it's being used for agricultural purposes, like farming, that doesn't apply," he explained.

Still, AAA Tennessee Director of Public Affairs Don Lindsey says he doesn't think riding in the back of a pickup is a safe idea.

"Even on a farm, even on a back road where there's not much traffic, just landing on the ground is enough to kill you or make you not live the life you wanted to live," said Lindsey.

The law as written is minimal, but it is all officials have to go by.

"The law doesn't say if you do it a certain way that you're violating the law. It just gives the law and the age limits and that's that," Boshears said.

Some people say this is something that should be looked into further.

"As far as a law is concerned, it's not a bad idea. I know there's a lot of resistance to another darn law, but it's not a bad idea given the risks that are there. The damages that can happen and the problems that can occur with riding in the bed of a truck," said Lindsey.

The primary seat belt law went into effect in 2004.

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