News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Riding in rear of pickups fun, but highly dangerous

The man is 60 years old and carries a jagged scar that starts at his chin, catches the corner of his mouth and ends at his lower eyelid.

He was riding in the rear of his dad's pickup about 50 years ago when a car slammed them from the back and propelled the child backward and onto the hood ornament, which sliced his face.

Each time he looked in the mirror as he grew into a young man, he thought how lucky he was to be alive, but he wished the scar would go away. Plastic surgery in those days wasn't an option for his family.

Today, the scar is simply part of him. But it is a reminder about the perils of allowing children to ride in the backs of pickups.

A 9-year-old Cullman County girl died Friday after falling from the back of a pickup. Her mother, the driver, was careful; but something unexpected happened and Kateah Pinkard fell out. She died at the scene of head and neck injuries.

What a tragedy.

Three years ago, state Sen. Tommy Ed Roberts, D-Hartselle, introduced legislation to ban youths from riding in the backs of pickups. The bill died, partially because of legislators' emotional ties to their rural heritage.

When a candidate for the Legislature asks for your vote this fall, bring up Kateah's name and get a pledge to ban youths from riding in the backs of pickups.

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