2010 Mahindra TR pickupEnlarge Photo
No, this isn't a headline dredged from Google News Archives. Just today, the Georgia House passed a measure that ends an odd loophole allowing adults in pickup trucks—such as the Indian Mahindra pickup that's soon expected from Georgia-based Global Vehicles—to legally eschew seatbelts.
The loophole had been carried over, year after year, unable to get through the legislature due to resistance from rural interests, and an anti-Big Brother sentiment. That, despite American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that about 20 deaths and 200 serious injuries could have been averted in the state each year with the requirement.
Belt use in pickups can reduce fatalities by 60 percent, according to NHTSA, and roughly 70 percent—a much higher percentage than for other types of vehicles—of those who died in pickup crashes weren't wearing a seatbelt.
The measure passed Georgia's Senate already and will be signed by Governor Sonny Perdue.
Under the current law, minors in Georgia are already required to wear belts. New Hampshire remains the only state with no requirement for adults to wear seatbelts. Indiana also used to have an adult exception for pickups, but the state eliminated that in 2007.
In the same whirlwind session, Georgia lawmakers passed bills to restrict texting by teens, though it remained unclear whether final versions would affect adults.