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The problem of children riding in the back of pickup trucks in Florida

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Title:
The problem of children riding in the back of pickup trucks in Florida a preliminary investigation
Physical Description:
25 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
Chu, Xuehao
University of South Florida -- Center for Urban Transportation Research
Publisher:
University of South Florida, Center for Urban Transportation Research
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Traffic safety and children -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Trucks -- Safety measures -- Florida   ( lcsh )
pickup trucks   ( trt )
Genre:
local government publication   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (p. 22-25).
Additional Physical Form:
Also issued online.
Statement of Responsibility:
Xuehao Chu.
General Note:
"June 1999."

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 025509959
oclc - 42759417
usfldc doi - C01-00143
usfldc handle - c1.143
System ID:
SFS0032252:00001


This item is only available as the following downloads:


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The problem of children riding in the back of pickup trucks in Florida :
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The Problem of Children Riding in the Back of Pickup Tru cks in F lorida: A Preliminary Investigation June 1999 XuehaoChu Center for Urban Transportat ion Research University of South F l orida 4202 East Fowler Avenue, CUT 100 Tam pa, Florida 33620 E-mail: xchu@cuu.eng.usf.edu

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ABSTRACT This paper prov ides a preliminary investigation into the problem of children riding in the back of pickup trucks in Florida from four perspectives. First, using the Fatal Analysis Reporting System (F ARS), it presents a descriptive analysis of fatal accidents involving children under 15 years of age riding in the back of pickup trucks in Florida from 1994 to 1997. Second, it compares the consequences of fatal accidents involving children riding in the back of pickup trucks with those i nvolving school buses and those involving children in airbag crashes in Florida during the same period. Third, using the 1995 Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey (NPTS), it describes the household ownership of pickup trucks in rural Florida and determines the number of rural households that may suffer hardship from prohibiting children from riding in the back of pickup trucks. Last i t provides a simplified analysis of the expected cost and benefit of prohibiting all children in Florida from riding in the back of pickup trucks Key words: Pickup truck Children Florida FARS Benefit cost analysis

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Introduction This paper provides a preliminary investigation into the problem of children riding i n the back of pickup trucks in Florida. The paper contributes to the literature and public debate on whether children should be allowed to ride in the back of pickup trucks by providing a recent picture of the problem in Florida and by addressing the problem from multiple perspectives. One significant trend of transportation in Florida and the rest ofthe country during the last 25 years or so has been the dramatic i ncrease in the household ownership of pickup trucks (Bureau of the Census, 1972a, 1972b, 1999a, 1999b ). The number of p i ckup trucks in Florida increased from 351.0 thousand in 1972 to 1,498 5 thousand in 1997, more than q uadrupled in 25 years. The number of pickup trucks as a share of all motor vehicles in Florida increased from 7 3 percent in 1972 to 13.8 percent in 1997. Accompanying this dramatic increase in the ownership of pickup trucks is the increase in their use for personal transportatio n purposes (Bureau of the Census 1972b, 1999b ). These increases in the ownership of pickup trucks and their use for personal transportation purposes have dramatically increased the opportunities for child r en being asked to ride in the back of pickup trucks. Many investigators have examined the prob le m of people riding in the back of pickup trucks. Bucklew at el. (1992) examine the medical records of 50 patients who sustained injuries during falls or ejection from the back of pickup trucks and were admitted to the Unviersity of New Mexico Levell Trauma Center between 1985 and 1989 Twenty-three individuals were thrown from the back of pickup trucks during a I

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motor vehicle collision, while the others simply fell out. Agran et al. (1994) compare crashes involving passengers of all age in the back of pickup trucks with those involving passengers in the cab, using data for all injury events of pickup occupants in California in 1990. They indicate that 36 percent of passengers in the back of pickup trucks were younger than 15 years. Hamar et a!. (1991) describe the characteristics of fatal crashes involving passengers of all age riding in the back of pickup trucks in Alabama after 1983, using F ARS. Agran et a!. ( 1995) look at the characteristics of people who carry passengers of all age in the back of pickup trucks, using a household survey in Riverside County, California. Only nine percent of the respondents who carried passengers in the back of a pickup truck reported that the pickup truck was the only vehicle available in the household. Few studies have focused on the problem as it relates specifically to children. Agran et a!. ( 1990) provide a descriptive analysis of both fatal and non-fatal accidents that occurred in Orange County, California between 1980 and 1989 and involved children aged 14 years or younger riding in the back of pickup trucks. Fallat et al. (1995) examine the medical records of 33 patients younger than 18 years who sustained injuries during ejection from the back of pickup trucks and were admitted to the two major university urban trauma centers in Kentucky from 1988 to 1993. Eleven were ejected during a collision, 19 were ejected from a moving truck, and 3 fell from a stationary truck. The primary countermeasure for the problem of children riding in the back of pickup trucks has been to enact state laws that regulate such practice. States vary in whether and how they regulate children riding in th e back of pickup trucks (NHTSA, 1999). Twenty-seven states do not have any restriction. New Jersey is the only state that 2

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prohibits, without exception, anybody from riding in the back of pickup trucks. The remaining 22 states, includ ing Florida, have some restriction and many exceptions As part of its child restraint requirements, Florida prohibits children under 6 years of age from riding in the back of pickup trucks (Florida Statutes, 1998). Opponents of restricting children riding i n the back of pickup trucks have focused on the cost of restrictions. They argue that such restrictions would create hardship on families in rural areas. They say, for example, "For many families in rura l areas the pickup truck is the family vehicle, and families go to the river for picnic" and "Rural areas may not have an alternative to the family vehicle." Proponents of enacting state laws to prohibi t or restrict the practice have focused on the benefit of restrictions: "If legislation saved one child, it would be worth it." They argue that it is outrageous to allow c hild r en to ride in the back of pickup trucks when children are required to wear helmets to ride on a bicycle and to be restrained in an automobile with sea t belts or special safety seats to keep them from being injured or killed in accidents Proponents were successful in California in 1994 in enacting a law that prohibits children riding in the open bed of pickup trucks. P r oponents have not been so lucky recently in other st ates, suc h as Tennessee, Texas, and Arizona. This paper contributes to the literature and policy debate on this problem by addressing the problem from four perspectives First using the Fatal Analysis Reporting System (F ARS), this paper presents a descriptive analysis of fatal accidents involving children under 15 years of age riding in the back of pickup trucks in Florida from 1994 to 1997. Second, the consequences of children riding in the back of pickup trucks are compared to those of fatal accidents involving school buses and those of airbag crashes in 3

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Florida. Third, using the 1 995 Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey (NPTS), the paper describe s the h ouse hold ownership of pickup trucks in rural F lorida and determines the number of rural households that may suffer hardship from prohibiti n g children from riding in the back of pickup trucks. Fourth the paper provides a simplified analysis of the e xpected cost and benefit of prohi b iting all chi ld re n in F lorida from riding in the back of pickup trucks. These four perspectives are presented below, following a discus s io n of the data used in the analysis. Data The analysis in this paper relies on four data so urces: the Fatal Analysis Reporting System (F ARS) ofthe National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administratio n (NHTSA), the Compressed Mortality File of the Cen ter for Disease Control and Preve ntion, the 1995 Nationwide Personal TranSPortation Survey (NPTS) of the Federal Highway Administration, and the data on airbag crashes from the Special Crash Investigation Program (S CI) at NHTSA. Fatal Accidents F ARS con tains data on all fatal traffic crashes within the 50 states the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. FARS contains data for the years 1975 through 1997. N HTSA h as a con tract with an agency i n each state to provide information on fatal crashes. F ARS analysts arc state emp lo yees who extract the information and put it in a standard format. Each F ARS analyst attends a formal training p r ogram and also receives on-the-job 4

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training. Data on fatal motor vehicle traffic accidents are gathered from the state's own sourc e document s, and are coded on standard F ARS forms. The analysts obtain th e documents needed t o complete the F ARS forms, which generally include some or all of the following: Police Accident Reports (PARS) State vehicle registration files State driver licensing files Stat e Highway Department data Vital Statistics Death cert ificates Cor oner/Medical examiner reports Hospital medical records Emergency medical service reports To he included in FARS, a accident must involve a motor vehicle travelling on a traffic way customarily open to the public, and result in the death of a perso n (either an occu pant of a vehicle o r a non-motorist) within 30 days of the crash. The FARS file contains descriptions of each fatal acci d ent reported. Each case has more than I 00 coded data elements that characterize the accident, the vehicles, and the people involved. The specific data e lements may be modified slightly at times, in response to users' needs and highway safety emphasis areas. All data elements are reported on four forms: s

PAGE 8

The Accident Form asks for information such as the time and location of the accident, the first harmful event, whether it is a hit-and-run crash, whether a school bus was involved, and the number of vehicles and people involved. The Vehicle and Driver Forms call for data on each accident-involved vehicle and driver Data include the vehicle type, initial and principal impact points, most hannful event, and drivers' license status. The Person Form contains data on each person involved in the accident, including age, gender, role in the accident (driver, passenger, non-motorist), injury severity, and restraint use. Thi s analysis used all FARS data available through an online Query System at the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA, 1999). Only data for the years from 1994 to 1997 are available By choosing to rely on F ARS data, this analysis excludes non fatal accidents that involve children rid i ng in the back of pickup trucks. Ideally, one would like to include non-fatal accidents as well to examine the problem of children riding in the back of pickup trucks. In addition, one would also ideally like to include a larger number of years so that more accidents can be examined. Neither non-fatal accidents nor additional years are included because the present analysis is considered as a first step toward characterizing the problem of children riding in the back of pickup trucks in Florida 6

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Mortality Data The Compressed Mortality File at the Web site of the Center for Disease Control and Preven tion is a county-level national m ortality and populatio n database spanning the years 1968-1996. Data for 1979-1996 are available on CDC WONDER. Counts and rates of death can be obtained by place of residence (U.S ., state, and county), age (17 groups), race (white, black, and other) gender, year, and underlying cause-of-death (4-digit lCD code or group of codes). The mortality database is derived from the U.S. records of deaths that occurred in 1979-1996. More details about the database are av ailabl e from CDC (1999) This analysis u ses data from 1993 to 1996 to compare the magnitude of child mortality for broad categories of causes, including accidents involving motor vehicles Pickup Truck Ownership Data The 1995 NPTS is the latest in a series of five surveys since 1969 conducted by U.S. Department of Transportation. The 1995 NPTS is based on a stratified sample of about 42,000 househo lds and contains the most comprehensive data currently available on person travel throughout the nation. In addition to travel, the survey also provide s household characteri stics, including v ehi cle ownership, u rbaniza tion category (rural, suburb, etc.) and state of household location, and the age of each household member who is at least 5 years old While FARS represents a census of all fatal crashes, the NPTS is based on a statistical sample As a result, any estimates from the survey are subject to sampling errors. More details about the 1995 NPTS are available from FHWA (1999). 7

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This paper uses the 1995 NPTS to examine the characteristics of household ownership of pickup trucks in rural areas and to determine the number of households that may suffer hardship if children are prohibited from riding in the back of pickup trucks in Florida. Air bag Crashes Since 1972, NCSA's Special Crash Investigatio n (SCI) Program bas provided NHTSA with the most in-depth and detailed leve l of crash investigation data collected by the agency. The data collected ranges from basic data contained in routine police and insurance crash reports to comprehensive data from special reports by professional crash investigation teams. Hundreds of data elements relevant to the vehicle, occupants, injury mechanisms, roadway, and sa fety systems involved are collected for each of the over 200 crashes designated for study annually. Professional crash investigators obtain data and photographs from crash sites which includes studying evidence such as skid marks gouges, fluid spills and broken glass. They locate the vehicles involved photograph them, measure the crash damage, and identify interior locations that were contacted by the occupants. The investigators follow up their on-site investigations by interviewing crash victims and other involved parties, and by reviewing medical records to determine the nature and severity of injuries. Interviews are conducted with discretion and are held confidential. The research teams are interested only in information that \viii help them understand the n ature and consequences of the crashes. Personal information about i ndividuals, such as names addresses license numbers, and even specific crash locatio ns, are not i ncluded in any 8

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public SCI file. Each investigation provides extensive information about pertinent pre crash, crash, and post-crash events involving the occ upants, vehicles rescue, and environmental factors, which may have contributed to the event's occurrence or severity Included in each report is an analysis and determination of the occupant kinematics and vehicle dynamics as they occurred throughout the crash. Detailed performance evaluations of the air bag and any other safety features (particularly those related to any of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) are pro vided. More than I ,200 air bag investigations have been conducted by the Special Crash Investigation Program to date, about 50 per year. The SCI program established a census of the early air bag vehicle crashes. Due to the rapid growth of air bag equipped vehicles into the marketplace in 1988, the program shifted gears from investigation of each air bag vehicle crash to in vestigating special interest cases involving such issues as non deployment crashes, air bag related injuries, interaction with child safety seats, and new air bag equipped vehicles crashes. These SCI air bag cases have been utilized by the agency and the automotive safety community to understand the real world performance of their state-of-the-art systems, and have been instrumental in influencing subsequent changes to a number of production air bag systems. The data used in the paper come from the NHTSA Air Bag Fatal and Serious Injury Summary Report (SCI, 1999). Fatal Accidents Involving Children Riding in the Back of Pickup Trucks This section describes the characteristics offatal accidents in Florida from 1994 to 1997 that involved children under 15 years of age riding in the back of pickup trucks. 9

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These accidents are identified through the online Query System at the NCSA web site with three variables: person type, seat position and vehicle body type. The variables of person type and seating position are part of the Person Form, while the variable for vehicl e body type is part of the Vehicle Form. Table I details the codes for each variable. Table I. Variables and Codes for Ateidtnt Identification Variable Code Definition Person Type 2 Passenger of a moto r vehicle in transport 51 Other passenger in enclosed passenger or cargo area Seating Position 52 Other passenger in unenclosed passenger or cargo area 53 Other passenger in passenger or cargo area unknown 30 Compact pickup (GVWR < 4,500 lbs.: Ram 50, Dakoda, Ranger, etc.) 31 Standard pickup (GVWR 4,500 to I 0,000 lbs.: Jeep Vehicle Body Type Pickup, Ram Pickup, etc.) 32 Pickup with slide-in camper 33 Convertible pickup 39 Unknown (pickup style) light conventional truck type A tota l of22 fatal accidents occurred in Florida from 1994 to 1997 that involved children riding in the back of pickup truc ks Table 2 shows the number of accidents and children involved in each of the years. There does not seem to be a clear pattern in terms of whether the number of such accidents is increasing stable, decreasing over time Table 2 Number of Fatal Aecidents Involving Children Riding in the Batk of Pickup Tru cks and Number of Children Involved, Florida 1994-1997 Year Number of Accidents Number of Children 1994 8 22 1995 4 7 1996 7 1 5 1997 3 7 Total 22 51 10

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Table 3 shows selected characteristic s of the 22 accidents Seven accidents occurred witho u t collision with anything. Two of these occurred because of overturn, while the othe r five occurred simply because passengers fell off the back of a pickup truck. Ha l f of t h e 22 accidents occurred because the p i ckup truck invo l ved struck something, whi l e four occurred because the pickup truck invol ved was struck. Thirteen of these 22 accidents occurred i n rural areas Only 5 ofthe 22 accidents occurred with the pickup truck involved moving at a speed abov e t h e speed limit. Also, two of the 22 accidents occurred when the pickup truck involved first struck a road side post or pole and then overtUrn e d Table 3 Selected Characteristics or Fatal Acci dents Involving Children Riding in the Back or Pickup T rucks, Florida, 1994-1997 Travel Speed Year First Harmful Event Most Harmful Event Vehicle Role Location Speed Limit (mph) (mph) 1994 Pedestrian Vehicle in T ransport Sruck Urban I ss 1994 Pedestrian Pedestrian Striking Urban 20 30 1994 Culvert Culvert Striking Rural 65 35 1994 Fall F all No collision Rural so ss 1994 Vehicle in Tran sport Vehicle in T r ansport Striking Rural 35 55 1994 Overtnm Overturn No collision Rural so 40 1994 Vehicle in Transport Vehicle in Transport Striking Rural 48 ss 1994 Fall Fall No collision Urban 2 5 25 1995 Vehicle in Transport Vehicle in Transport Striking Urban so 45 1995 Vehi cle in Transport Vehicle i n Transport Striking Urban ss 55 1995 Sign Post Sign Post Striking Urban 65 65 1995 Fall Fall No collision Rural 45 55 1996 Vehicle in Transport Vehicle in Transport Striking Urban 40 40 1996 Post/Pole Overturn Striking Rural 30 30 1996 Vehicle in Transport Vehicle in Transport Stuck Rural 45 ss 1996 Vehicle in Transport Vehicle in Transport Stuck Urban 40 35 1996 Vehicle in Tra n sport Vehicle in Transport Stuck Rural 40 45 1996 Utility Pole Overturn Striking Urban 53 45 1996 Fall Fall No collision Rural 25 30 1997 Fall Fall No coll i sion Rural 12 ss 1997 Overturn Overturn No collision Rural 63 70 1997 Bicycle Bicycle Striking Rural 3 30 II

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Table 4 shows additional characteristics of the 22 accidents, including the total number of occupants in the pickup trucks involved, the number of children riding in the back of pickup trucks involved by injury severity, and the number of children ejected from the back of pickup trucks. The picku p trucks involved in the 22 accidents had a total of I 05 occupants. Except two cases, the pickup truck involved had at least four occupants. The number of children riding in the back of pickup trucks varied from I to at many as 5 Among the 51 children riding in the back of pickup trucks, 26 were ejected. Tabl e 4. Add i tional Characteristics of Fatal Acoidents Involving Children Riding in the Back of Pickup Trucks, Florida, 1994-1997 To ta l Numbero Injury Severity of Children in Back of Pickup Children Numbero Children in T rucks Ejected from Code Year Occupants Backo Non Backo in Pickup Pickup No injury Inca pacitating Incap a ci t ating Fatal Pickup Trucks Trucks Trucks 484 1994 4 3 0 3 0 0 3 526 1994 4 2 2 0 0 0 0 854 1994 5 2 0 0 I I 2 1326 1994 2 I 0 0 0 I I 1525 1994 6 4 0 0 4 0 4 2I34 I994 7 5 0 0 4 I 5 2209 1994 4 I 0 0 I 0 I 2305 1994 5 4 3 0 0 I I 507 1995 4 I 0 I 0 0 I 1087 1995 6 3 3 0 0 0 0 I40I 1995 3 2 0 0 I I I I969 1995 4 I I 0 0 0 0 731 1996 4 I 0 0 0 I I 796 I996 5 I 0 0 I 0 I 887 1996 5 2 2 0 0 0 0 9 1 8 1996 5 I 0 0 0 I I 1135 I996 5 4 0 3 0 I 0 2173 1996 6 3 0 2 0 I 2 2308 1996 5 3 2 0 0 I I 610 1997 6 3 2 0 0 I 0 1761 1997 4 I 0 0 0 I I 2030 1997 6 3 3 0 0 0 0 Total lOS 51 18 9 12 12 26 12

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Table 5 summarizes the 5 1 chi l dren ridin g in the back of pickup trucks by injury severity and whether t hey w e r e ejected. All of the 18 chi ldr e n who suffered n o i njuries were not ejected. Among those ejected 6 suffered non -i ncapacitating injuries 12 with incapacitating injuries, and 9 with fatal injurie s. Amo n g those not ejected, 3 s uffe red non incapacitating injuries and 3 with f atal injuri es TableS. Child ren Riding i n Ba c k or Pic.kup Trucks by E j ecti o n Status and Injury Severlry Florida, 1994-1997 In jury Severity E j ection N o I njury Non In capacitating Fatal Total Incapacitating Ejected 0 6 12 9 27 Non Ejected 18 3 0 3 24 Total 1 8 9 12 1 2 51 Finally Tabl e 6 shows the 51 children by age and injury severity Five o f t hese children were younger than 6 years, 14 aged from 6 to 9 years and the other 22 aged I 0 t o 14 y ears. The current legal age in Florida is 6 years for chil dre n t o ride in the back of pick tru c ks. Table 6. Children R i ding I n B ack o!Pickup T rucks by Age and Injury Se> erity, Florida, 1994 1997 Inj ury Severity Age Non Incapacitating F atal Total No Injury U n der 6 2 0 3 0 5 6-9 4 3 3 4 1 4 10-14 1 2 6 6 8 2 2 Total 18 9 12 12 51 13

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Comparing the Problem of Children Riding in the Back of Pickup Trucks with Other Safety and Health Problems for Children This section compares the consequences of children riding in the back of pickup trucks to those of other safety and h ealth problems facing children in Florida. It is important to have a sense of the relative magnitu des of these problems so that limited resources are appropriately allocated in addressing these problems. Table 7 shows the number of deaths among chi ldren in Florida from 1994 to 1997 that resulted from them riding in the back of pickup trucks, accidents involving school buses, and airbag crashes, respectively. As discussed earlier data on accidents involving school buses are from the online Query System for F ARS (NCSA, 1999), while data on airbag crashes are from SCI (1999). The problem of children riding in the back of pickup trucks resulted in twice as many deaths as the problem of accidents involving school buses. In add ition, the problem of children riding in the back of pickup trucks resulted in far more serious injuries than the problem of involving school buses (not shown). On the other hand, airbags killed a t least 8 children in Florida during this period. Table 7. Child Deaths from Riding In tbe Baek of Pickup Trucks, Se. hooi-Bus Aceidents, and A l rbag Crashes, Florida, 1994-1997 Problem Number of Deaths Riding in Back of Pickup Trucks 12 Airbag Crashes 8 School-Bus Accidents 6 14

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Table 8 shows the total number of deaths among children from 1993 to 1996 that resulted from four broad causes: accidents invol ving motor vehicles, accidents involving no motor vehicles, health problems and other (including suicide, homicide, etc.) (CDC, 1999). A total of9,319 children died in this period in Florida. Among these, 687 were related to accidents involving motor vehicles 7.4 percent), 2,377 related to other accidents (25.5 percent), 4,844 related to health problems (62.7 percent), and 411 related to other causes (4.4 percent). Table 8. Child Deaths from Various Causes, Florida, 1993-1996 Cause Number of Deaths Percent Share Motor Vehicles 687 7.4 Other Accidents 2,377 25 .5 Health 5,844 62.7 Other 411 4.4 All 9,319 100 Pickup Trucks as Household Vehicles in Rural Florida This section takes a look at the household ownership of pickup trucks in rural areas and determines the number of househol ds in rural areas that may suffer hardship if children are prohibited to ride i n the back of pickup trucks. It is based on the 1995 NPTS. Figure 1 shows the percent share of pickup trucks and other motor vehicles in rural areas for both Florida and the rest of the country. Rural areas of Florida accounted for 2 8.4 percent of household pickup trucks in 1995, compared to 11.2 percent for other motor vehicles. Rural areas in the rest of the country had a larger share of both pickup trucks and 15

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other motor vehicle s than in rur al ar eas of F l orida. Thus, rural areas rely more h eavily on pic ku p trucks than urban areas Figure I. Pickup T rucks and Other Motor Vehi cl e s in Rural Areas, Florida and Rest of US, 1995 I 5 0 I i 40 37. 9 "' 2 8 4 "' 30 -, "' = 20 li ll. l !! 10 ... 19.0 0 F l o r i d a Rest o f US Figure 2 shows the d i stribu tion of pickup trucks by househ old ownership of all motor vehi cles for both rural and urban areas in Florida. Abou t 8.4 perc ent of all pickup trucks served as the househo l d v e h icle in rural areas of Florida in 1995. That per c en tage is only slightly l ower in urban areas. Thus, only a small share o f p icku p trucks is the h o use h old vehicle in rural ar eas and rura l and urban ar eas d iffer little in th e share Figure 2 Distr i bution of P i ckup Trucks b y H ouseho l d Ownership of All Motor Vehicles, Florlda _,l995 70 60 so c 40 u -30 u ... 20 1 0 7.6 0 43. 3 33. 8 8.4 One Two Thre e + Household OwnerShi p of AU Motor Vehicles 16 fOurbanJ I Ruratl

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Figure 3 s h ows the share of households that only have one veh i c le available and have children under 15 years of age for the US. Among households in rural areas wi th only one vehicle available, only 14.7 percent have children present when that household vehicle is a pickup truck, compared to 21.0 percent when that household vehicle is not a pickup truck. These percentages are similar i n urban areas. Furthermore Figure 4 shows the US distribution of rura l households with ch ildren present and whose only vehi cle available is a pickup truck. Slightly over h alf of these households have at lea s t four household members. Figure 3. With One Vehie l e and with Children Under IS Ye .aN, US, 1995 15. 3 14. 7 f.o U rbon! : Ruralj Pi:kup Figure 4. Rural H ouseholds with Children Present Whose Only Ve-hicle Is a Pickup Truek, US, 1995 ,_ I 50 i 40 I 40.4 I i "' 30 \! l & 20 10 I 0 I L 2 4 s 6 + Household Size: _________ _____________________ ______ _J l7

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Overall, about 7.9 percent of rural households in the US that have only one vehicle available, that the household vehicle is a pickup truck, that children are present, and that there are at least four household members. Most of those that may suffer hardship if children are prohibited from riding in the back of pickup trucks are among these 7.9 percent households, representing about 61, 000 households in the US. If Florida has the same share of these households as its share in all rural households, Florida has about 1,700 households that may suffer hardship from prohibiting children from riding in the back of pickup trucks. The actual number of households suffering hardship may differ from 1 700 for several reasons. First, some pickup trucks have extended cabs, which can sit as many as six passengers. Casual observations indicate that more and more pickup trucks have extended cabs. Second, for trips with short distances, it adds little hardship to make an extra round trip for any additional passengers that cannot fit into the cab for the first time Third, some households in urban areas may also suffer hardship when children are prohibited from riding in the back of pickup trucks. The Economics of Prohibiting Children from Riding in the Back of Pickup Trucks This section looks at two economic issues related to whether children should be allowed to ride in the back of pickup trucks. One issue is whether there is any economic rationale for govenunent intervention The second issue relates to the cost and benefit of prohibiting all children from riding in the back of pickup trucks in Florida. Much of the 18

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debate around the issue of children riding in the back of pickup trucks has focused on one sided arguments by either the opponents or proponents of putting restrictions on the practice. As discussed earlier, the proponents focus on the benefit of saving young lives, while the opponents focus on the hardsh ip on families in rural areas who rely on pickup trucks for family activities. Rationale There are two basic types of economic rationales for government intervention. One type is the existence of negative externalities. When the choices made by individual persons impose costs to other people and these people are not compensated for the costs, n egative externalities exist. In highway safety, negative externalities appear as the risk that one puts on other users of a transportation system when one decides to use the system or the costs required to deal with the consequences of accidents that are not paid by the persons who are responsible. The other type of economic rationale for government intervention is incomplete information. Children themselves generally do not understand the risk that they are under when asked to ride in the back of pickup trucks. Under either case, government intervention may be justifiable. Whether government should actually intervene, however, depends on the relative benefit and cost of the intervention. Cost and Benefit To estimate the expected benefit of prohibiting children from riding in the back of pickup trucks, one would need to know the percent reduction in the number of injuries and 19

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deaths among children from riding in the back of pickup trucks and the average cost of injuries and deaths. Without any empirical evidence on the percent reduction, this analysis assumes that prohibiting all children from riding in the back of pickup trucks in Florida would avoid half of all injuries and fatalities resulting from children age 6-14 riding in the back of pickup trucks. As a result, the direct benefit over the four-year period from 1994 to 1997 would be half of the 12 deaths, 9 incapacitating injuries, and 9 non-incapacitating injuries among children aged 6 to 14 years. On the unit cost of injuries and deaths, this analysis assumes $2,854,500 per death, $1,851,585 per incapacitating injury, and $205,610 per non-incapacitating injury. These estimates include the economic costs that result from goods and services that must be purchased or productivity that is lost as a result of injuiies These estimates also include the more intangible consequences of injuries to individuals and families such as pain, suffering, and loss of life. Blincoe ( 1999) estimates unit costs for injury categories under the MAIS designations: $10,840 for minor, $133,700 for moderate, $472,290 for serious, $1,193,860 for severe, $2,509,310 for critical, and $2,854,500 for fatal. To convert the MAIS designations to the police designations used in F ARS, the unit cost for incapacitating injuries takes the average of those for severe and critical injuries and the unit cost for non incapacitating injuries takes the average of those for minor, moderate, and serious injuries. Under these assumptions, the annual benefit for Florida from prohibiting all children riding in the back of pickup trucks would be at least $6.60 million. As estimated earlier a total of I ,700 house holds in rural Florida may suffer hardship from prohibiting children from riding in the back of pickup trucks If one assumes that the cost imposed on each of these households because of the hardship is no more than $3,500 per year, which 20

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seems to be a reasonable assumption, the annual cost of hardship on these households is at most $5 95 million. Comparing the annual benefit of$6.60 million with the annual cost of$5.95 million would indicate that prohibiting children from riding in the back of pickup trucks would appear worthwhile for F lorida. The estimate of annual benefit, however, is likely to underestimate the total annual benefit because it excludes injuries suffered by children riding in the back of pickup trucks involved in nonfatal accidents. On the other hand the estimated annual cost of hardship may also underestimate the total cost of hardship because it only includes rural households that have only one vehicle available, that the household vehicle is a pickup truck, that children are present, and that there are at least four household mem b ers. The relative benefit and cost thus depends on whether the underestimated annual benefit would e xceed the underestimated annual cost. Conclusion This paper has characterized the problem of children riding in the back of pickup trucks in Florida from four perspectives. Despite many shortcomings of the paper, several conclusions can be reached. First it is clear that children riding in the back of pickup trucks are highly vulnerable to serious injuries and deaths. Second, the magnitude of the problem is larger than that of accidents involv ing school buses or that from airbag crashes but is less than two percent of all child deaths as a result of accidents involving motor vehicles. Third, the economic rationale for government intervention clearly exists because of the potential health costs imposed on soc i ety and because children may not understand 21

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the risk they are being e)(posed to when asked to ride in the back of pickup trucks. Four, the annual benefit o f prohibiting all children from riding in the back of pickup trucks is at least $6.60 million, while about I ,700 households in rural Florida may suffer hardship if children are prohibited from riding in the back of pickup trucks. At this point, it is inconclusive about the relative benefit and cost of prohibiting all children from riding in the back of pickup trucks in Florida. Acknowledgment The 1998-1999 Base Work Program at the Center for Urban Transportation Research supported research reported in this paper. I thank Michael R. Baltes for comments on an eadier version. References Agran, Phyllis F., Diane G. Winn, and Dawn N. Castillo (1990), Pediatric Injuries in the Back of Pickup Trucks, Journal of the American Medical Association 264: 712-716. Agran P, D. Winn, and C Anderson (1994), Injuries to Occupants in Cargo Areas of Pickup Trucks, Western Journal of Medicine 161: 479-42. Agran P, D. Winn, and C Anderson (1994), Who Carries Passengers in the Back of Pickup Trucks, Accident Analysis and Prevention 27: 125-130. 22

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Bucklew PA, TM Osler, JJ Eidson, FW Clevenger SE Olson, and GB Demarest (1992), Falls and Ejections from Pickup Trucks, Journal ofTrauma-Injury Infection and Critical Care 32: 468-472. Bureau of the Census (1972a), Truck Inventory and Use Survey: Florida, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC. Bureau of the Census (1972b ), Census ofTransportalion: Truck Inventory and Use Survey, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC. Bureau of the Census (t999a), 1997 Census ofTransportation: Truck Inventory and Use Survey: Florida, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC. Bureau of the Census (1999b) 1997 Census ofTransportalion : Truck Inventory and Use Survey, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (1999), CDC Wonder on the web, ht!J):/fwonder. ede.gov/mortl.shtml. Fallat ME, JE Svenson SS Roussell, and VG Hardwick (1995), Hazards to Children Riding in the Back of Pickup T rucks, Journal of Kentucky Medical Association 93: 515-518. 23

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Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) (1999), 1995 Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washin gton, DC. F l orida Statutes (1998), Chapter 316, State Uniform Traffic Control, Section 316.613, Child Restraint Requirements. Hamar GB, W King, A. Bolton, and PR Fine (1991) Fatal Incidents Involving Pickup Trucks in Alabama Southern Medical Journal 84: 349-354. Blincoe, Lawrence J. (1999), The Economic Cost of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 1994, http:l/v.'Ww. nhtsa/gov/people/economic/ecomvcl994.html, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration U.S. Department of Transportation Washington, DC. National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) (1999), FARS Query System, http:/ {www.n htsa.dot.govlpeop lelnc.sa, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department ofTransportation, Washington, DC. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) (1999), Child Passenger Safety: Kids Aren't Cargo, http ://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/childpslkac/index.html U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC. 24

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Special Crash Investigation Program (SCI) (I 999), http: /iww w.nhtsa dot gov / pcoplelncsa/sci.html, N ational Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U .S. Department of Transportation, Washington, D .C. 25