MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

July 18, 2013

Don’t let tragedy strike again

Riding in the bed of a pickup is so commonplace that it is practically a birthright in rural communities.

But it is also very dangerous, risky behavior.

The mother of a young man killed in a wreck last month wants to change the law about riding in the back of a pickup.

Darlene Blevins lost her son Paul Blevins Jr. when he was ejected from the bed of a pickup when the pickup hit a tree.

Three other young people were ejected from the bed, too.

Michael Rogers, 14, also died.

People under age 13 must be restrained when riding in a vehicle according to state law.

Darlene Blevins wants the law to say no one can ride in the bed of a pickup.

“I’ve told my son so many times to stop doing it, and I’ve caught him riding in the back of trucks with other kids at least two other times before this happened,” she said. “He knew the dangers of it. They were just having fun. They were just kids, and they weren’t thinking.”

The loss of two young lives is tragic.

It would be even more tragic if more lives were lost because of a lack of awareness of the risky behavior.

Pickup beds are made of steel. It is not safe for anyone to ride in the back if the pickup has a collision.

It is not the best idea to have anyone of any age riding in the back of a pickup.

We urge legislators to consider a law that could help prevent additional tragedies.

We strongly urge everyone to go above and beyond the letter of the law to try to be safe.

Every parent should have a frank conversation with their children about their choices in regard to safety.

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