We know better than anyone how memorable taking a ride in the back of a pickup truck can be. We want you to be able to make lasting memories like this, but times have changed. The innocent way you once cruised around may not technically be legal anymore. We want you to stay up to date with the current rules, so your fun-filled rides don’t turn into a hefty fine.
Keep reading to find out which states allow individuals to ride in the back of a pickup truck and which ones do not.
Riding Laws Depend On The State
There is no national law regulating truckbed passenger rules. It is up to each state to determine official ruling on the action.
The two main factors affecting truck bed passengers are:
- Which state you are in
- The reason for riding in the back
Safety is the number one concern for truck bed rules. Most truck beds have no passenger securing mechanism, and some are not enclosed on all four sides. The lack of safety features means passenger ejection can happen quickly and unexpectedly. However, sometimes there are emergencies when riding in the back of a truck may be necessary.
States With No Restrictions
The following 20 states have no current state laws or regulations to ban people from being able to ride in the back of a pickup truck.
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Riding in the back of a pickup truck is common with agricultural work, so many states do not have laws against it. Their policies may not explicitly ban leisurely rides in the bed of a pickup truck. However, it does not mean that the preferred method for passenger transport is in the truck bed.
States With Restrictions
The rest of the 30 states have different policies regarding passengers being able to ride in the back of a pickup truck.
For many states, the main restriction is age. The following states allow passengers to be in the truck bed as long as they are older than a certain age:
- Connecticut (16)
- Florida (18)
- Georgia (18)
- Hawaii (13), as long as there is not space inside the cab and they are on the floor
- Kansas (14)
- Louisiana (12), as long as the truck does not drive on an interstate highway
- Maine (19)
- Maryland (16)
- Massachusetts (12)
- Michigan (18)
- Missouri (18), as long as the truck does not drive in the corporate limits of any city
- Nebraska (18)
- Nevada (18)
- New Mexico (18)
- North Carolina (16)
- Ohio (16)
- Oregon (18)
- Pennsylvania (18), if the vehicle is going 35 mph or less
- Rhode Island (16)
- South Carolina (15)
- Tennessee (12)
- Texas (18)
- Virginia (16)
A few state rules don’t take age into account:
- Arkansas: Allowed if riders are on-duty employees
- California: Allowed if there it is a farmer-owned truck, the passenger is in a certified restraint system, and it’s a parade or emergency situations
- Colorado: Allowed for any age if the bed is enclosed on four sides
- District of Columbia: Allowed for on-duty employees
- New Jersey: Allowed for on-duty employees
- New York: Allowed if the trip is less than 5 miles, if there is a restraint system, or a few more exceptions
- Utah: Allowed if off the highway or an on-duty employee
- Wisconsin: Allowed if the bed is enclosed, on-duty employee, farming, deer hunting, or parades
Be Smart When Joyriding
Even if it is legal in your state, it is always safer to ride in the cab of a truck. It may be fun, but most states only allow truck bed passengers for work purposes or particular circumstances. Always make sure to check with specific country and city rules before you ride through town in the truck bed. Stay safe out there!