Police rules vary in Sask. about riding in the back of pickups

While the debate goes on whether dogs can go in the back of pickup trucks, some people are asking: What about people?

SGI spokesperson says inconsistency is troubling

While the debate goes on whether dogs can go in the back of pickup trucks, some people are asking: What about people?

It turns out that police in the province's two biggest cities deal with riders in pickups one way and the RCMP deal with it another way — and that's got Saskatchewan Government Insurance asking questions.

The police services in Regina and Saskatoon say they generally do not issue tickets if all the seat belts inside the vehicle are in use and people have to ride in the box of the pickup.

What's the law on riding in the back of a pickup?

​Riding on exterior of vehicles
244(1) No person shall ride and no driver shall permit any person to ride on any
exterior part of a motor vehicle on a highway, except in a box or space designed for
the accommodation of passengers.​

Sgt. Colin Glas, member of the Regina Police Traffic Safety Unit, said people can ride in the back only if it's safe.

"Yes animals can be in the back of a box or back of a vehicle," Sgt. Glas said. "There is no legislation in effect that restricts animals from being in the back of a vehicle.”

It would not be allowed, for instance, for someone to be in the back of a truck trying to keep a couch and TV from flying out onto the road.

“Of course, we'd like to see all the seat belts in use inside the vehicle," Sgt. Glas said. "If you have passengers that exceed the limit inside the vehicle, the occupant seats, they can ride safely in the back of a truck.”

That person might get a ticket for 244(1) under the Traffic Safety Act and the driver might get a ticket for having an unsecured load.

Saskatoon police follow similar rules, allowing people to sit in the box under certain conditions.

However, RCMP in Saskatchewan take a different approach. They don't believe riding in the back is safe, so that is treated as a ticketable offence.

A spokeswoman for Saskatchewan Government Insurance said the Crown insurer was not aware until today that the rules are being applied differently by different police forces in the province.

Kelley Brinkworth said it's a troubling situation and SGI is looking at clarifying the rules.

"We want to make sure that the law is being interpreted consistently across all police forces in the province," Brinkworth said. "So it's something that we're going to review and we want to speak with the Ministry of Justice as well and to make sure that there's clarity.”

Meanwhile, people riding in the back of pickups has been a hot topic following a debate in Saskatoon about possibly not allowing pets to be transported in a pickup truck's box.

Saskatoon is contemplating a bylaw that would require people to restrain or tether their animals if they're riding in the back.

With files from Tory Gillis and Stefani Langenegger