An emergency room physician at Primary Children's Medical Center says he is startled by the number of children he treats for injuries suffered by either falling from or being bounced from the bed of moving pickup trucks.
Dr. Tony Woodward told the Senate Public Safety and Transportation Committee Thursday that many accident victims - even those who are bounced about the cargo areas of pickup trucks and station wagons but remain in the vehicle - suffer life-threatening injuries.Woodward said there were 40 such accidents between May 1986 and September 1989, according to a study of Primary patients. "We were surprised that 30 percent were enclosed in pickup trucks. Many patients end up in intensive care," Woodward said.
Sen. Robert Steiner, D-Salt Lake, is sponsoring a bill that would prohibit children 14 years and younger from riding in pickup truck beds, even those covered with camper shells.
SB113 also would increase the fine for failure to secure a child in a child restraint seat from $20 to $50.
Committee members were concerned that the bill would prohibit transporting agricultural workers or military troops. "We're not forbidding adults from riding in the back of a pickup truck. We're forbidding children."
Les Langford, lobbyist for the Utah Police Officers Association, said he believed police officers would have difficulty enforcing the bill because the bill speaks to "cargo areas" all motor vehicles, which could include vans, suburbans and station wagons. "As far as law enforcement goes, we have some real problems with it," Langford said.
The committee postponed action on the bill until next week.