Is It Legal to Ride in the Cargo Area of a Vehicle in Kentucky?
There are no specific laws in Kentucky to prohibit riding in the back of a pickup truck or the cargo area of a vehicle. However, a defendant in a lawsuit could argue comparative negligence for failing to wear a seat belt as required by law. If the defendant is successful, your compensation could be reduced under Kentucky’s comparative negligence laws.
As experienced Kentucky car accident attorneys, we have experience fighting the seat belt defense. Don’t let an insurance adjuster convince you that you cannot receive compensation for your injury because you were in the truck bed. Let our attorneys fight for your right to receive the money you deserve for your injuries.
Riding in the Truck Bed and the Seat Belt Defense in Kentucky
According to Kentucky seat belt laws, you are prohibited from operating a vehicle manufactured after 1981 unless you and all passengers are safely secured by a safety restraint (KRS §185.125). Because the statute does not require a passenger to wear a safety belt, case law allows a jury to impose a general duty of ordinary care upon a passenger for his or her own safety.
If you are riding in the bed of a truck or the cargo area of a vehicle, you are not safety secured by a safety belt. Therefore, the driver is in violation of Kentucky’s seat belt law, and you can be held responsible for your safety as a passenger. An exception to this requirement exists for farm trucks that are registered for agricultural use only.
Kentucky courts have held that a defendant can use the failure to wear a safety restraint as a defense for comparative negligence standards. Failing to wear a safety belt cannot bar you from recovering money by itself, but it can impact the amount of money you receive.
For instance, if a jury assigns you 50 percent of the fault for your injuries in an accident because you were in the bed of a truck and not wearing a safety belt, your compensation will be reduced by one-half. If your damages total $50,000, the most you can receive is $25,000. Therefore, while riding in the back of a truck is not illegal, your ability to recover full compensation for an accident claim can be compromised if you are riding in the cargo area at the time of the crash.
Why is it Dangerous to Ride in the Back of a Truck?
The bed of a pickup truck doesn’t provide any protection in a collision. Without safety restraints, you can be thrown from the vehicle in an accident. If you are thrown into oncoming traffic or in front of the vehicle, you can be run over. Even if you are not thrown from the vehicle, you can sustain traumatic injuries. Your risk of being crushed in the crash is substantial. For your safety and the safety of your passengers, riding in a truck bed of a vehicle is not recommended.