Taijeron: truck beds for cargo, not people - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Taijeron: truck beds for cargo, not people

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - A freshman senator is hoping to slam the brakes on people riding in the bed of pickup trucks. It's a measure that would completely strike out a major portion of the language in a recently passed public law.

Senator Mana Silva Taijeron introduced Bill 60, which would prohibit all passengers from riding in the bed of a pickup truck. She says the measure was sparked by a recent incident that resulted in a couple of Simon Sanchez High School students being thrown from the back, adding, "In meeting with some of the family members one of them asked me to introduce a bill and looking into the possibility of restricting all passengers from riding in the back of a pickup truck."

The freshman lawmaker says it's a real problem causing a severe safety issue on the island's roadways. "There is no good way to restrain passengers who ride in the back of a pick up truck, if passengers inside a vehicle have to wear a seatbelt well the same has to be said for the passengers in the back of a pickup truck," she said.

The bill proposes that each individual caught riding in the bed would have to pay a $100 fine.

Meanwhile, Senator Tom Ada, who authored the recent law that regulates the amount of people who can ride in the back of a pickup to five, says while the intent of legislation is good, it's impractical in its current form, adding it only creates more problems. "Those families who really can't afford the big SUVs to carry around all their family members but must carry them on the back of a pickup truck, now those families are going to have a real problem in going one place to another," he said.

Senator Ada says the bill should consider a compromise, such as improving Guam mass transit services. But the Guam Police Department's Highway Patrol Division's Lieutenant Art Paulino says they favor the legislation, saying, "We've seen too many fatalities on the island and it is our position that when you are properly restrained that should prevent any serious bodily injury and/or death."

Even the community is reacting to the legislation, some in disagreement, while others are saying it's about time.

Although one of the biggest concern deals with the large amount of construction companies that use pickups to transport workers, Senator Taijeron says, "No excuse and what this will do for those found in violation of this law it will instill some penalties."

If signed into law, the legislation does point out that it will immediately go into effect 30 days after it's enacted upon.

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