Can I Carry Passengers in the Truck Bed?

Carrying passengers in your pickup is one thing, and giving them in your pickup truck bed is another thing. In most states, it is not illegal to carry passengers in the truck bed, provided that you follow your few traffic rules.

01. Alabama (No Restriction)

  • There’s no law regulating the seating of a passenger in the truck bed, but seat belts and child restraint laws apply.

02. Alaska (No Restriction)

  • Riding in the back of the pickup is legal in Alaska

03. Arizona (No Restriction)

  • There’s no law regulating the seating of a passenger in the truck bed, but seat belts and child restraint rules apply.

04. Arkansas (No Restriction)

  • There’s no law regulating the occupancy of a passenger in the truck cargo bed.

05. California

  • Must have federal-approved restrain system while in the foundation of the truck.
  • Passengers are riding in the farmer-owned vehicle, driven only on farming land.
  • I am riding within one mile of highway between one part of the farm to another.
  • Passenger can ride in pickup used in parade and not driving over 8 miles per hour.
  • When you have an emergency.

PenaltiesFirst offense-A penalty is no more than $100. The second offense (within one year)-A has a sentence of no more than $200. Third or subsequent offense (within one year)-A has a penalty of no more than $250.

06. Colorado

  • Passengers may ride in a seating position in the cargo area provided that it is enclosed on all four sides.

PenaltiesPenalty is a fine of $35 where no points are assessed.

07. Connecticut

  • A passenger in the cargo area should be 16 or older
  • Passenger younger than 15 years old should be belted
  • Passengers are allowed in parades
  • You can transport farm workers in farming operations
  • Legal in hayrides from August through December

PenaltiesPenalty is a fine of $50 where no points are assessed.

08. Delaware (No Restriction)

  • There’s no law regulating the occupancy of a passenger in the truck cargo bed.

09. Florida

  • Passengers in the cargo areas should be 18 or older.
  • Cargo passengers who are 17 or younger should be in an enclosed cargo area
  • They can be on non-limited-access roads unless the local laws exempt them from the prohibition of minors riding in flatbeds.
  • They can also ride with a seat fitted with a safety belt.
  • Employees on duty are allowed to ride on the cargo area.

10. Georgia

  • A passenger in the back of the pickup truck should be 18 or older.
  • 17 or younger passengers are allowed in the cargo area of pickup if the cargo area is covered and enclosed from all sides.
  • It is legal for any pickup truck off the interstate.

11. Hawaii

  • A passenger who is 13 or older can ride in the back of the car only if there are no available seats in the cab.
  • The side racks and the tailgate must be securely enclosed, and the passengers must be seated on the floor.
  • The passengers may not try to unlash the cargo
  • You can carry passengers in the cargo area in case of life threatening emergencies.
  • It is allowed in the parade for the employees such as farm workers who are on duty.

12. Idaho (No Restriction)

  • There’s no specific law regulating the occupancy of a passenger in the truck cargo bed.

13. Illinois (No Restriction)

  • There’s no particular law governing the occupancy of a passenger in the truck cargo bed.

14. Indiana (No Restriction)

  • There’s no specific law governing the occupancy of a passenger in the truck cargo bed.

15. Iowa (No Restriction)

  • There’s no particular law governing the occupancy of a passenger in the truck cargo bed.

16. Kansas

  • Passengers riding in the cargo area should be 14 or older.
  • Passengers are allowed to ride in the back of a truck during government sanctioned parades.
  • It is legal to carry farm workers or other employees during field work hours
  • It does not apply to any vehicle that is not operated in the state highway system or within the corporate limits within the city.

17. Kentucky (No Restriction)

  • There’s no specific law regulating the occupancy of a passenger in the truck cargo bed.

18. Louisiana

  • Passengers who are 12 years old or older can ride in the back of the truck only if it is being moved in the non-interstate highway.
  • Passenger can ride in the truck bed in parades but under 15 miles per hour.
  • Riding in the cargo area is legal during emergencies and if the child is with an adult.
  • It is also legal in case of emergencies while moving on the interstate highway.

19. Maine

  • Passengers in the truck bed should be 19 years old or older.
  • Agricultural workers who are 18 or younger can ride in the back of the pickup truck.
  • Hunters who are 18 or younger can also ride in the back of the pickup.
  • Passenger can also ride in the OEM installed seat that is outside the compartment.

20. Maryland

  • A passenger in the back of the truck should be 16 years old or older.
  • People who are 15 or younger can ride in the cargo area provided that the pickup doesn’t go beyond 25 miles per hour.
  • Drivers can transport employees to work site in the back of the truck.
  • Farm workers can ride in the truck back from one farm to another farm.
  • Children must be restrained with belts and other government-approved restrained if traveling in the back of the truck.

21. Massachusetts

  • A passenger who is 12 or older can ride at the end of the pickup
  • A passenger who is 11 or younger can ride in the cargo area if the truck is driven for 5 miles and less than 5 miles per hour.
  • They can also ride during parades
  • People are also allowed to ride during farming activities, i.e., to transport farm worker from one farm to another.

22. Michigan

  • Drivers can carry passengers in the truck bed who are 18 years old or older.
  • For passengers who are 17 or younger, the pickup should not be moving more than 15 miles per hour.
  • Military vehicles can also transport passenger in the back of the truck.
  • People are also allowed to ride in the cargo area during emergencies
  • Farm workers can be transferred in the back of the truck from one farm to another.
  • Construction workers are also allowed to ride in the cargo area.

23. Minnesota (No Restriction)

  • There’s no specific law regulating the occupancy of a passenger in the truck cargo bed.

24. Mississippi (No Restriction)

  • There’s no particular law governing the occupancy of a passenger in the truck cargo bed.

25. Missouri

  • People who are 18 or older are allowed to ride in the cargo area.
  • Passengers who are 17 or younger can travel in the cargo area if the vehicle is not operating on the highway that is part of the state or federal highway system and within the corporate limits of the cities.
  • There are transportation exceptions for employers carrying employees in the back of the truck.
  • Farmers can carry farm works for agricultural activities.
  • Passengers are also allowed during parades.
  • Drivers can also take a passenger if they are restrained, i.e., they are prevented from falling out or thrown out of the vehicle.
  • You are allowed to ride in the cargo in special events.
  • People are allowed in the truck bed during recreational activities.
  • Passengers can also ride in the back of the truck if there isn’t enough room for them in the cab.
  • However, it is not applicable for pickups with covered cargo areas.

26. Montana (No Restriction)

  • There’s no state law regulating the riding of a passenger in the truck cargo bed.

27. Nebraska

  • A passenger who is 18 years old or older can ride in the back of the truck bed.
  • They are also allowed to ride in parades.

28. Nevada

  • People who are 18 or older can ride in the back of the pickup.
  • Those who are younger than 18 can ride only if the pickup is used in farming or ranching.
  • People younger than 18 can also ride in the pickup truck bed in an authorized parade.
  • Passengers can ride in the cargo area on unpaved roads.
  • It is also allowed for people riding in areas that are enclosed by a camper shell.

29. New Hampshire (No Restriction)

  • There’s no state law regulating the riding of a passenger in the truck cargo bed.

30. New Jersey

  • A passenger who is employees and is engaged in their duties are allowed to ride in the back of a pickup.

31. New Mexico

  • Any passenger who is 18 or older can ride in the cargo area of a pickup.

32. New York

  • Passengers are allowed in the pickup truck bed if the trip is for 5 miles or less.
  • For trips that are more than 5 miles, only one-third or less passenger should be standing, or a suitable seat is available with an enclosed bed from all sides.
  • It is also allowed for trips more than 5 miles only if there are less than five persons and they should either 17 or younger.

33. North Carolina

  • Passengers who are 16 or older are allowed to ride in the back of the truck bed.
  • People who are 15 or younger can also ride under the supervision of an adult present in the cargo.
  • Children are allowed to ride in the truck bed only if they are belted and the bed is enclosed from all sides.
  • You can also transport people in the truck bed during emergencies.
  • People are allowed in the truck bed during parades.
  • The vehicle used in agriculture can also transport people in the back.
  • A vehicle with permanent overhead structures is also allowed to take people in the back of the truck.

34. North Dakota (No Restriction)

  • There’s no state law regulating the riding of a passenger in the truck cargo bed.

35. Ohio

  • Passengers who are 16 or older are allowed in the back of the truck bed.
  • Whereas people who are 15 or younger are allowed in the back of the truck if the vehicle rides less than 25 miles per hour.
  • People who are seated in the back and are belted in an OEM seating are also allowed in the cargo area.
  • Passengers are allowed to ride in the cargo area in case of emergencies
  • It is inapplicable to pickups with covered cargo areas.

36. Oklahoma (No Restriction)

  • There’s no state law regulating the riding of a passenger in the truck cargo bed.

37. Oregon

  • A passenger who is 18 or older can ride in the back of the truck bed.
  • Minors are allowed in the cargo area provided that they are secured with a safety belt or a harness.
  • People are also allowed in the truck bed in parades.
  • A minor is also allowed to be seated on the floor of the open bed in case all the other passenger seats are occupied by other children.
  • Minor can also be transported during employment with the tailgate up.
  • Passengers can be transported to the hunting camp and hunting sites during the hunting seasons, and the passenger should have a hunting license.

38. Pennsylvania

  • Passengers can ride on the back of a pickup only if its speed doesn’t exceed 35 miles per hour.
  • No children under 18 years old are allowed to ride on the back of a pickup.
  • Passengers transported between parts of farm owned and operated by the farmer.
  • Passenger possessing a valid hunting license who is being transported between hunting camps during hunting seasons.
  • Children who are a participant in an officially sanctioned parade

39. Rhode Island

  • Passengers traveling on the back of the truck should be 16 or older.
  • Younger people, i.e., 15 or younger, can be transported in the cargo area if they are secured.

40. South Carolina

  • A passenger riding in the back of the truck should be at least 15 or older.
  • Younger people who are 14 or younger can ride under the supervision of an adult present in the cargo.
  • Children can be carried in the truck bed if they are belted.
  • People are also allowed in the parade.
  • You can ride a passenger in the back of a truck bed in case of emergencies.
  • Farmers can transport farm workers from one farm to another farm during agricultural activities.
  • Adults and children can also be transported when they are going hunting in the hunting seasons.
  • The pickup should have a metal tailgate.
  • The pickup should be operating less than 36 miles per hour to transport people in the back.

41. South Dakota (No Restriction)

  • There’s no state law regulating the riding of a passenger in the truck cargo bed.

42. Tennessee

  • A passenger traveling in the back of the truck should be 12 years old or older.
  • People who are between the ages of 6 years old to 11 years old can ride in the back of the truck if the vehicle is operated off the interstate of the state highway system.
  • People are allowed in the cargo area in parades if they are going less than 20 miles per hour.
  • Passengers can also ride the cargo area during agricultural activities, i.e., farmers can carry farm workers from one farm to another.
  • You can also ride on city or county roads unless prohibited by local ordinance.

43. Texas

  • The passenger must be older than 18 years old
  • An emergency is a valid reason
  • Riding on the back in the beaches is acceptable
  • Farm workers can be transported from one field to another field
  • Riding in pickup truck bed in hay rides is acceptable
  • Passengers younger than 18 years old can ride in the back if the truck is used in parades
  • Riding in vehicles that are the only vehicles owned by the members of the household

44. Utah

  • You can ride on the back of the truck in off highway operations.
  • You can transport employees who are doing their duties.
  • People can’t ride in space intended for any load.

45. Vermont (No Restriction)

  • There’s no state law regulating the riding of a passenger in the truck cargo bed.

46. Virginia

  • Passengers who are 16 or older can travel in the back of the truck bed.
  • Farmers can be transported on the highway to go from field to field.

47. Washington (No Restriction)

  • There’s no state law regulating the riding of a passenger in the truck cargo bed.

48. West Virginia

  • The passenger must be older than 16 years old.
  • If the passenger is under 16 years old, the truck shouldn’t cross 25 miles an hour.
  • You can’t sit up on the sides of the bed of the truck.
  • You can’t carry passengers with the tailgate down.
  • Plus, it is illegal to ride on the running boards.

49. Wisconsin

  • Passengers are allowed to ride in the back of the truck in enclosed areas
  • People can be transported for farm operations by farmers from one farm to another.
  • Adults and others can be carried in the truck bed in parades.
  • People are also allowed to ride during deer hunting, whereas they should have a hunting license.
  • Employees on duty can also be transported in the back of the pickup truck.

50. Wyoming (No Restriction)

  • There’s no state law regulating the riding of a passenger in the truck cargo bed.

Dangers of Riding in the Back of the Truck

Riding in an open truck bed is exhilarating, and many would agree to have fond memories of it as a kid. Summer rides, camping, and everything fun is associated with riding at the back of the truck bed. Although it is not illegal in most states and does allow the majority of people in other countries, it is not exactly safe to ride in the cargo area.

Many parents would let their children in the truck bed and may go out for a quick spin, at a slow pace of course, but again it’s not a wise choice.

In reality, riding in the back of the truck can lead to absolute catastrophic events and can cause death even at slow speeds. You could just be going out for a snack or a pack of beer; it’s still dangerous.

A majority of car accidents in the US happen because of unsupervised transportation of people, especially children in the back of the truck.

The legality of Riding in the Open Bed of a Truck?

Drive down any part of the country in the summer, and the chances are you will see a few cruising along the road on a pickup truck in an open cargo area. In 19 states, driving on the back of a pickup is legal; in fact, no laws are restricting their options. Other countries do have some restrictions, but it is usually age based. Even if you are a 20-year-old adult driving in the back of a truck, you are not safe from its possible dangerous consequences. Some states impose restrictions on the speed of the pickup too, which is much better, still far from safe.

No matter what is the law, it is always better to ride with a restrain in all conditions if you are riding on the back of the pickup.

Transporting Dogs in an Open Truck Bed?

Yes, that’s also legal to carry dogs in an open truck bed in almost all states with the prohibition that the dog has to be cross-tethered. Transporting dogs in the back of the truck are illegal in 5 nations California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island unless you take proper measures.

Just like for passenger, it is dangerous for dogs to be carried in the back of a pickup. According to the HSUS, nearly 100000 dogs get killed every year in pickup accidents. Dogs and cats are the easiest of pet to get thrown out of the truck bed with a hard brake. Or when they are left loose, they may get the distracted jump off the running vehicle and injure themselves.

Why is it So Dangerous?

Riding in the back of a pickup is dangerous for many obvious reasons. Many legislation was prompted due to tragic accidents causing the death of many due to riding on the end of the truck. In minor collisions, passengers in the cab are much safer and may not get any casualties, but if there are people in the end, there’s a chance of a more significant mishap for a similar accident. Passengers in the open have little to no protection whatsoever when riding on the road, so even at a slower pace, they are quite in danger of getting severe injuries. Low-speed crashes, which is much more common in the USA, shouldn’t take any life unless you have a loose passenger in the open bed of the truck, which immediately escalated the situation into having casualties.

Now that you know of your options of carrying passengers in the pickup truck, you should act smart and only take a passenger in an open cargo space when necessary.

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