Traffic Tip: Victoria Police Department -Weekly Traffic Law Reminder
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By Sgt. Julian Huerta
This week's traffic law is found in The Texas Transportation Code,
Sec.545.414. Riding in open beds; offense.
(a) A person commits an offense if the person operates an open-bed pickup truck or an open flatbed truck or draws an open flatbed trailer when a child younger than 18 years of age is occupying the bed of the truck or trailer.
(b) An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $25 or more than $200.
(c) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the person was:
(1) Operating or towing the vehicle in a parade or in an emergency;
(2) Operating the vehicle to transport farm workers from one field to another field on a farm-to-market road, ranch-to-market road, or county road outside a municipality;
(3) Operating the vehicle on a beach;
(4) Operating a vehicle that is the only vehicle owned or operated by the members of a household; or
(5) Operating the vehicle in a hayride permitted by the governing body of or a law enforcement agency of each county or municipality in which the hayride will occur.
(d) Compliance or noncompliance with Subsection (a) is not admissible evidence in a civil trial.
(e) In this section, "household" has the meaning assigned by Section 71.005, Family Code.
Why the emphasis on this particular traffic law?
Many people are still not clear on the change that came about in September 2001, in regards to riding in open pickup beds.
As a child growing up in South Texas I would imagine we all have ridden in the back of dad's pickup truck at one time or another. Unfortunately for some children in the past, when it was legal to do so, these decisions lead to senseless fatalities. And that is why the legislature outlawed it, especially for children.
Citations and written warnings are a means to correct and change driving behavior, so all of us who drive along Texas highways are safe.
The Victoria Police Department Traffic Safety Unit reminds you to drive safe. The life you save may be your own.
For more information, contact Sgt. Julian Huerta, Traffic Safety Unit at 361-485-3700.