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Pick up truck laws now more strictly enforced in Samoa

Samoa police are now enforcing the traffic statutes making it illegal for pick-up trucks to have over crowded passengers in the tray (back) of the vehicle, after a truck carrying 46 rugby players crashed into a nearby wall causing critical injuries to some of the passengers — there were no fatalities.

Samoa law states:

Road Traffic Ordinance 1960, Section 38A: CARRYING PASSENGERS IN THE BACK (TRAYS) OF PICK UPS AND/OR DYNA —  Pick Up/Dyna Vehicles can carry passengers at the back (trays) of the vehicle, provided that the passengers are seated safely in the back (trays) and it is not overcrowded.

A Traffic Offence Notice will be issued to the passengers who travel or drivers who allow passengers to travel in the back (tray) of a pickup/dyna when it is:

Dangerous and Overcrowded (Road Traffic Ordinance 1960, Section 38A); and

Insecure – traveling in insecure positions (Road Traffic Regulations 1961, Regulation 53) Children (persons 12 years and under) are prohibited from sitting in the back (tray) of a pick up/dyna AT ALL TIMES.  A Traffic Offence Notice will be issued to those drivers found to be in breach of this Road Traffic Order (Clause 21).

The current efforts at enforcement came about when, according to the Samoa Observer, a High Performance Unit truck loaded with 47 rugby players crashed into a nearby wall, tipping players off the tray in Vaoala.

(Samoa News notes that ‘overcrowding’ is not defined numerically in the statutes of Samoa.)

The incident happened three weeks ago and while some players were treated and released the same day, several players were critically injured and are slowly recovering from their injuries, according to Samoa Observer.

In American Samoa, adult passengers are allowed to sit in the tray of a pick-up truck, but it is illegal for anyone to be sitting on the box bed of a pick-up truck. This was confirmed to Samoa News by Lieutenant John Cendrowski, who heads the Department of Public Safety Traffic Division.

He said minors can sit in the tray of the vehicle but they must be accompanied by an adult.

“Infant babies and any baby that can be fitted into a car seat is not allowed to be in the tray of a pick-up truck. “The babies have to be in a car seat,” said Lt Cendrowski.

Lt Cendrowski told Samoa News, the law which makes it illegal for anyone sitting on the box came into effect a few years back, after data from traffic citations indicated members of the public, particularly the youth, tend to sit on the box bed.

There is no local statute about overcrowded truck trays, like the Samoa law.