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Fatal accident raises question: What are Idaho's truck bed-riding laws?

By Tyler Berg
Published On: Aug 20 2013 11:15:57 PM CDT

An accident near Ashton Monday Morning left a 9-year-old dead, and many wondering what Idaho's laws are in regards riding in the bed of a truck.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

An accident near Ashton Monday Morning left a 9-year-old dead, and many wondering what Idaho's laws are in regards riding in the bed of a truck.

The young boy was riding in the bed of his father's truck on a mattress when it blew out of the truck, taking the boy along with it. He struck his head on the pavement and died of head trauma.

Sgt. Chris Elverud with the Idaho State Police says the laws in Idaho are pretty cut and dry.

"As far as people riding in the bed of a pickup truck, there is no law that says that you can't do that," said Elverud.

No matter if you're in a quiet neighborhood, or on a fast-moving highway, the law remains the same. Riding in the cab of a truck unbuckled is illegal, however, riding in the bed of a truck unbuckled remains perfectly legal.

"It's just not part of the cab, so you're exempt from the seat belt laws," said Elverud.

In fact, there's not even a state law prohibiting a person from standing in the bed of a moving truck.

"There's no law that says you need to be sitting, kneeling or strapped in," said Elverud. "It's pretty vague."

But some cities do have an ordinance in place requiring passengers to sit down in a way that won't compromise safety. For example, Idaho Falls enforces a similar ordinance.

There is one restriction the state does enforce. Kids under the age of 7 cannot ride in the bed of a truck under state law.

"Kids under 7-years-old need to, at least, be in a booster seat," said Elverud.

The pickup in Monday's accident was reportedly moving at only 25 mph when the 9-year-old was ejected from the bed of the truck.

"It's one of those deals where, it doesn't seem safe, but there's no law against it here in Idaho," said Elverud. 

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