Pickup Truck Law Just Common Sense

Ocean City is looking into creating a new ordinance prohibiting passengers from riding in the back of pickup trucks.
What’s most compelling about this is the fact it’s not already against the law because it was assumed by most that it’s prohibited currently. The fact is it’s not in Maryland with the exception of one county.
What’s unclear is whether this law will be for all of Ocean City or just the city-owned streets. If it can’t be for the entire town, as was the case with certain scooter regulations, it will not be worthwhile because that leaves Coastal Highway off limits because it’s a state-owned road. We give the city enough credit at this point that the topic would not have even been broached if it was not for all roads in Ocean City.
It looks as if Ocean City is simply going to mirror its law to the one on the books in Anne Arundel County. In that county’s code under Passengers In Unenclosed Areas of Motor Vehicles, it states, “It shall be unlawful for a person to ride in or allow another person to ride in an unenclosed area of a motor vehicle except in a seat with a seat belt in use. The penalty upon violation is punishable by a fine of $50.”
It’s certainly sounds simple enough and makes perfect sense because the sight of people piled into the back of a pickup truck bed is unsettling, especially in Ocean City when hundreds of rear-end accidents take place each year during congested times. It’s incredibly dangerous and sends a contradictory message when compared to recent motor vehicle laws passed.
Effective Oct. 1, all vehicle passengers must wear seat belts. Previously, it was the law that only the front-seat passengers had to be restrained. Therein lies the contradiction. It’s illegal to ride in the back seat of a pickup truck’s cab without seat belts but there are no restraints necessary to ride in the bed of a pickup truck. It sends conflicting messages and is a loophole that needs to be closed.
Officials explained this week it’s not prohibited currently in all jurisdictions because of the farming factor, as farmers and their workers often sit in the back of pickup trucks while conducting their chores along rural roads. That’s a lame reason not to make this a statewide law. It’s an easy fix to simply exclude those working in a certain trade, such as agriculture and road construction.
Some things are obvious in life and do not merit tremendous consideration. We hope Ocean City does not overthink this change and moves forward with it. With proper enforcement, it will prevent what will inevitably be a tragic situation at some point in time.