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Pickup crash hoped to raise awareness of risk

A terrible crash that killed one passenger and injured four when a pickup truck lost control, crashed and caught fire near Makau cave, is causing a debate on whether people should be allowed to ride in the bed  of a pickup truck. The motor vehicle accident involved 16 teens riding in a single pickup truck. Five passengers were in the bed of the vehicle when it crashed and some were ejected from the vehicle.

Lawmakers in Hawaii were discussing this accident and whether a change in the law could have prevented the fatality. One senator stated, "We've got to do something about this." He had proposed a bill last legislative session that would prohibit people from riding in the bed of a pickup. He was disappointed that it went nowhere in the legislative, and hopes that this motor vehicle accident will help the bill pass.

Others questioned if legislation will solve the problem. Apparently the teens may have been drinking and one representative noted that he was not sure that a law would have been "a deciding factor or not."

Many from rural parts of the Hawaii suggested that any legislation would need to take in to account how pickups are used on ranches and other rural areas. Its possible exceptions for private property could be added.

However, one senator noted that he used to ride in the back of pickup trucks until a member of his family was injured and he is "very aware" of the problem, especially with teens.

While it may be necessary for some uses in rural areas, no one can support permitting people to ride in the bed of trucks as being safe. Ejection is a frequent cause of death in vehicle crashes and anyone in riding in the bed of a pickup is at great risk of being ejected. 

Source: KHON2.com, "Crash spurs debate to ban people from riding in back of pickup truck," Tammy Mori, June 16, 2013

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