Can You Ride In Truck Beds? (Rules per State – with Examples!)

In this article, we’ll be going through some restrictions about riding in the bed of trucks, together with the laws that go with it for every state.

Such questions include:

  • How old do you have to be to ride in the bed of a truck?
  • What’s the fine for riding in a bed of a truck?
  • Can dogs ride in the bed of a truck?
  • Which states allow riding in the bed of a truck?
  • In which states is riding in the bed of a truck illegal?

We delve in to include as much information as you need.

A Word Of Caution (Before We Get Started)

Here’s a mistake a lot of people make:

People get confused as to whether it is illegal to ride in the bed of a truck in their state.

So they just do it and hope that nothing bad happens and hope that they don’t get pulled over by the police.

That’s a huge mistake…

And one that can land you in hot water.

A better strategy would be to get the information you need first and then make that decision. Information such as whether riding in the bed of a truck is legal in your state and if it is, does it have any restrictions associated with it – such as age restrictions and other reasons.

Here’s an example:

  • In Colorado, you are allowed to ride in the bed of a truck as long as the passenger is protected by an enclosed cargo area.
  • Whereas in Nebraska, it is illegal for any passengers under the age of 18 to ride on the bed of a truck.

So what does this mean?

It just means that the laws change depending on:

  • The state you live in
  • The age of the person riding in the truck bed (age restrictions vary from 12 to 19)
  • If your work depends on there being passengers in the truck bed
  • The speed at which the truck is moving
  • If the truck bed is secured by an enclosing
  • Whether you’re driving on an interstate or a normal road

It’s clear that:

Riding in the bed of a truck for a passenger is all dependent on a number of factors.

These are all restrictions that a driver should know and abide by.

This adds even more confusion because there are many states and with so many factors affecting the law, it’s hard to know whether you are in the right in the state you live.

With that said… Let’s take a big chunk out and start with the states that allow riding in the bed of a truck. This is a large number of states.

This means passengers may ride in the bed of a truck without any restrictions.

So, If you live in any of the states below, you can rest assured that you won’t get pulled over for having passengers riding in the bed of a truck.

And keep in mind that: Your safety comes first and always exercise caution whenever you have passengers riding in the bed of your truck.

A quick disclaimer: this list does not replace legal advice. Always consult with an attorney concerning laws in your state.

States That Allow Passengers to Ride In The Bed Of A Truck Without Limitations

  • Alaska
  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

Remember: Laws can be changed at any time.

So it’s best to be in the know and check your state’s laws before going out for a windy drive.

For example, the state of Mississippi changed a few of its laws back in 2017. One of those laws included riding in the bed of a truck, and it is now strictly prohibited.

Looking at the above list you might think to yourself “why are there still so many states that allow this”?

Well, as we’ve mentioned before, it depends on the state you live in.

Think about it…

If you live in a state where there’s lots of farming work being done, or it’s parade season, then surely for transportation reasons, it would make sense to have passengers in the bed of a truck.

But again, this is restricted to speeds below 35 mph. It also depends on what age the passengers riding in the bed of the truck are.

Which brings us to our next question.

How Old Do You Have to Be To Ride In The Bed Of A Truck?

The age restrictions vary from 12 years old to as old as 19 years old.

They also vary from state to state.

State Min. Age For Driving In a Truck Bed
1.     Florida 18
2.     Georgia 18
3.     Maine 19
4.     Michigan 18
5.     Missouri 18
6.     Mississippi 18
7.     Nebraska 18
8.     Nevada 18
9.     New Mexico 18
10.  Oregon 18
11.  Pennsylvania 18
12.  Texas 18
13.  Connecticut 16
14.  Maryland 16
15.  North Carolina 16
16.  Ohio 16
17.  Rhode Island 16
18.  Virginia 16
19.  Kansas 14
20.  Louisiana 12
21.  Massachusetts 12
22.  South Carolina 15
23.  Tennessee 12
24.  Arkansas Not allowed except for employees on duty
25.  California Not allowed if unrestrained and not for work-related duty or events.
26.  District Of Columbia Only employees on duty
27.  New Jersey Only passengers on duty are allowed
28.  Utah Only employees for work-related reasons
29.  Wisconsin Only allowed for work, farm operations, hunting, and parades.
30.  Hawaii Exceptions only if the truck has no additional seating
31.  New York Not permitted, limited to the length of the trip and age of passengers

 

Another set of added restrictions on top of the age restriction include:

  • Whether driving on the highway or on normal roads
  • If the cargo area of the truck is enclosed
  • The speed at which the pickup truck is moving

These are also all the states that don’t allow riding in the bed of a pickup truck.

The remaining states all have different laws and other restrictions pertaining to riding in the bed of a truck.

As you can tell, the laws differ from state to state together with different restrictions.

There are other details to take into consideration as well on top of the age restrictions.

For example:

  • Missouri’s laws for riding in the bed of a truck seem to be the longest and most detailed.

It goes into detail about age restrictions, weight restrictions (12 000 pounds), the road where the truck is traveling (highway), work-related activities, agricultural activities and special events such as social activities.

So?

This is why it is always best to check the necessary laws in your state before carrying passengers in the bed of a truck. Make sure to check all the details so as to be sure you don’t miss any details. This will help you when you’re trying to figure out why the police officer pulled you over and for your own safety.

If it does happen that you get pulled over for having passengers riding in the bed of your truck…

The question is: What penalties do I face when pulled over for having passengers in my truck bed?

It’s better to get pulled over before anything bad happens than carrying on and increasing the chances of a crash happening before you get pulled over.

As for the penalties, it’s mostly getting a fine.

What’s The Fine for Riding In A Bed Of A Truck?

If a driver is pulled over for a fine, the amount can vary between $25 and $250 and issued a ticket. This also depends on where the incident occurred.

The truck driver will be guilty of a misdemeanor if in violation of the above laws regarding passengers in a truck bed.

A ticket is usually a good way to learn that what you are doing is against the law. Compared to other harsher lessons like getting people injured because you were not sure about what laws apply in your situation.

Again, a good way would be to seek out more information, especially if you are moving to another state.

If you happen to be moving from a state that has no restrictions on truck bed riding, then you might be completely baffled when being stopped over for having your dog riding in the truck bed.

Which brings us to our next question…

Can Dogs Ride in The Bed Of A Truck?

Dogs love the outdoors. What they love just as much is the wind blowing through their faces in the bed of a moving truck.

But unfortunately, not only is this dangerous but it is also illegal in many states.

Dogs are usually very excitable, and the little guy might see something he likes and decide to jump out of the moving truck. This can lead to serious injury or even death.

A dog is subject to the same risks a human is when riding in the bed of a truck.

You might ask: What if the dog is on a leash?

This is still very dangerous because if the truck comes to a sudden stop, the dog can get startled and run. With the leash on, this can lead to suffocation.

The majority of states have set legislations against having your dog riding in the bed of a truck, whilst other states are pending on the matter.

For example, in California, you must have the dog in a cage or tied down to the bed truck if the sides of the truck are less than 46 inches high.

Violating this can get you a $50 to $100 fine if you’re a first offender and up to $250 for a third offender.

Regardless of whether it is illegal or not, it is not a good idea. A truck bed is usually metal and gets very hot during the day, this can result in burnt paws.

Yet another concern is the road debris the dog is exposed to when the truck is moving. If the truck bed is exposed, debris from the tires of the truck can strike the dog and lead to serious injury.

The question then becomes:

What would be the best way to transport the dog?

One way is protective cages made specifically for truck beds. These have a protective layer on the truck bed floor to protect from heat for the paws.

Protective cages are usually fastened on to the sides of the truck and the top and sides are enclosed while giving ample breathability. These are usually large to allow for movement and can protect the dog on a hot sunny day.

To Wrap It All Up

When you think about riding in the bed of a truck, you instantly smile or cringe depending on what kind of personality you have.

If you happen to be adventurous, you might just smile and remember a memory where you once rode in the bed of a truck. The wind blowing through your face and that blissful feeling that makes you feel like you are flying.

On the other hand,

If you are a cautious person, and you tend to put safety first, then different images might go through your mind. You might imagine getting pulled over for a fine, getting into a crash or your dog flying out of the bed of the truck as the truck screeches to a stop.

These are all valid concerns.

And so we can try and answer all of your questions about riding in the bed of trucks.

Back in the day, the rules weren’t very strict regarding passengers in the bed of a truck. We might even have a few happy memories about riding in the bed of a truck.

Nowadays though, cars have become much faster, and so safety has become a priority. You don’t have to read up on statistics to learn the huge numbers of accidents that happen when passengers are thrown out of a moving truck. It is simply not worth the risk.

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