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Posted: Tuesday, September 4, 2001 12:00 am

Some say pickup passenger law places burden on larger families

Legislature: Law aims to curb traffic injuries, fatalities.

BY KEVIN GARCIA

The Brownsville

On Saturday, it became illegal in Texas for anyone under 18 to ride in the bed

of a pickup truck. The new law aims to curb traffic injuries and fatalities,

but some Brownsville residents say it only places a larger burden on people

with larger families.

The previous law, enacted in 1995, allowed anyone over 12 to ride in the back

of a pickup, provided the vehicle was traveling under 35 mph.

Gloria Moreno, a 55-year-old grandmother, community activist and Cameron Park

resident, said she supports the new law because it helps ensure the safety of

her neighbors.

This law has been approved for the protection of children, Moreno said.

There have been a lot of tragic accidents.

Moreno, who said she does not personally know anyone who has been injured in

such an accident, acknowledged that the law may be a hindrance to some

families, but said it is necessary.

It may not be convenient, but the law must be obeyed, Moreno said. She added

that while her own children and grandchildren many times have asked to ride in

the back of pickups, she has never let them.

Miguel Sandoval, a resident of Brownsvilles downtown area, said the law could

present a problem for larger families.

He said his 4-year-old son and young nephews and nieces usually ride in the

cab of the truck or by car, but when a large group gets together to go on a

family outing, often the younger members of the family ride in the bed of the

truck.

The older nephews sometimes ride over where the tire is, but there are always

older people there for supervision, Sandoval said. Always an adult.

Moreno said a little discomfort is well worth the improved safety.

Even though it is easier for families (to let children ride in the back),

they still shouldnt allow children, or adults, to ride in the back of the

truck, Moreno said.

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