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Legal, but is it safe? Riding in the bed of a pickup truck in Arizona

Posted at 11:41 AM, Mar 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-14 14:41:32-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - Getting around town from the bed of a pickup truck won't get you a ticket in Arizona. But it may get you a trip to the emergency room.

Five people have been injured while riding in the bed of pickup trucks this year alone, according to Banner University Medical Center.

"Our record year was 30 patients," Dr. Bellal Joseph, Chief of Trauma at Banner said.

The injuries that come with riding in the bed of trucks are often very serious, and come at a hefty price, according to data from Banner for the past eight years.

  • More than half of all patients who come to Banner actually get admitted to the hospital.
  • One in four go to the intensive care unit and stay an average of four days.
  • About 20 percent end up having an operation.
  • 180 patients have racked up more than $9 million in hospital costs.
  • 88 percent of those hurt are adults.
  • Five people have died.

The most severe injuries Dr. Joseph sees related to riding in truck beds are traumatic brain injuries.

"There's no safe way to ride in the back of a pickup truck," Dr. Joseph said. "You're not safer if you're in the back of the truck, just because you're older or bigger."

Some believe because of reservations and farming communities across the state, bills to make riding in the bed of a truck have never been passed into law.