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Is It Legal to Ride in the Back of a Truck?

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

On a sunny day, what's more fun than cruising down the street in the back of a truck bed with the sunshine in your face, wind blowing through your hair, and no barriers between you and nature?

But is riding in a the back of a truck legal?

No Relevant Laws

Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, and 17 other states have no laws addressing passengers riding in truck beds. This means it's legal to do so until somebody passes a law that says it isn't.

Allowed with Restrictions

In the other 30 states, riding in a the back of truck is legal with certain restrictions.

  • Texas -- In Texas, children under 18 years of age cannot ride in a truck bed unless the truck was operated in a parade, hayride, or emergency, used to transport farm workers, or driven on a beach. Interestingly, children of any age can ride in a truck bed if that truck is the only car the family has.
  • Florida -- Florida allows children under 18 to ride in a truck bed as long as the back of the truck has secure seating and safety restraints
  • Tennessee -- On Tennessee's state highways, anybody over 12 years old can ride in a truck bed. Also, children as young as six can ride in truck beds within city limits.
  • North Carolina -- In North Carolina, passengers over 16-years-old may ride within a truck bed. However, children younger than 16 may also ride in a truck bed if an adult is also riding there; the child is restrained by a seat belt; or the truck is being operated in a parade, farm work, or an emergency.

Dangers of Riding in a Truck Bed

Most states don't view riding in a the back of a truck as an especially dangerous activity that must be discouraged. For example, violation of North Carolina's law is only an infraction with a maximum fine of $25.

However, many people have died in accidents because they were riding in a truck bed. Last year, Alabama's Representative Kerry Rich introduced a bill to prohibit people under the age of 19 from riding in the back of a pickup truck after a fatal accident killed four people sitting in the back of a pickup truck. The law faced opposition and did not pass.

So, while it may be legal for adults and certain children to ride in a truck bed, be sure to do so safely. If you've been in an accident and were charged with a criminal offense, consult with an experienced criminal law attorney for help.

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