Can I Ride in the Back of a Pickup Truck in Utah?
There was a time that many people never thought twice about riding in the back of a pickup truck or the cargo area of a vehicle. However, times have changed. It is dangerous to ride in the back of a truck and laws now take that into consideration. Utah Code §41-6a-1703 specifically prohibits riding on “improper portion of the motor vehicle.”
If you were injured while riding in the back of a truck and the insurance company is denying your claim, our Utah accident attorneys want to help. The insurance company may not tell you the truth about whether you are entitled to compensation. Our attorneys investigate the accident completely to determine if you can recover compensation even though you were riding in the back of a pickup truck.
What is the “Improper Portion” of a Motor Vehicle?
The statute defines an improper portion of a motor vehicle as any portion of the vehicle that was not designed or intended to transport passengers. In other words, the back of a pickup truck was not designed to transport passengers because there are no seats and no seat belts. It is a cargo area intended to haul items.
Of course, someone could argue that a work truck could be intended for workers traveling from one work area to another. Because there can be valid reasons to use the cargo area of a truck for passengers, there are exceptions to the law.
Exceptions to Prohibition of Passenger in Bed of Truck
Utah law allows for three situations in which passengers can legally ride in the cargo area of a vehicle:
- The vehicle is not being driven on a highway;
- An employee riding in the cargo area as part of his job duties; and,
- A person who is riding in a space that is intended for a load on the vehicle.
As you can see, we can use the exceptions to argue that you were within your rights to ride in the bed of a truck. Therefore, the insurance company should pay your claim. It is important to hire an attorney with experience handling these cases who can prepare a strong and convincing argument to refute the insurance company’s position.
Why is it Dangerous to Ride in the Bed of a Truck?
Even if the law does not prohibit riding in the cargo area of a vehicle, it can be dangerous. First, there are no seatbelts. In a collision, you are likely to be thrown from the truck. You could be thrown into oncoming traffic or in front of the truck. In either case, one or more vehicles could hit you or run over you. Second, if you are not thrown from the vehicle, you are likely to be crushed during the impact.
Riding in the bed of a truck increases your risk of series injury or death. The Utah Department of Public Safety advises people not to ride in the bed of a pickup truck because it is dangerous. If you do ride in the back, it suggests that you sit on the bed as close to the cab as possible and you never sit on the sides of the truck or an open tailgate.
We hope everyone remains safe, but if you are in an accident, our Utah attorneys are here to help.