Most States Actually Allow You to Ride in the Bed of a Pickup Truck
All states allow certain passengers to ride in the beds of pickup trucks–in certain situations. Twenty states have no law limiting riding in the bed of a pickup truck. Other states limit things like how young a passenger can be to hop in the back or how fast that truck can be moving. Keep reading for the specific law in your home state.
Is it safe to ride in the bed of a pickup truck?
It is not as safe to ride in the bed of a pickup truck as it is to ride in the cab. Firstly, most pickup truck beds don’t have seats or seatbelts. Secondly, passengers can suffer hearing loss from wind noises or respiratory issues from exhaust fumes.
Obviously, hopping into the bed of a truck for a parade or hitching a ride during low-speed farm work is very different than enduring a long highway cruise back there. That’s why some states specify you can only ride in the bed of a pickup truck during the above scenarios.
Can you install seats in the bed of your pickup truck?
You absolutely can. But some states specify that you need a federally-approved restraint system for any passengers in the bed of your pickup truck. Some companies manufacture jump seats with seatbelts for truck beds. These are usually backward-facing and installed near the cab for as much rollover protection as possible.
Which states allow you to ride in the bed of your pickup truck?
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the following 20 states have no laws prohibiting you from putting any passenger in your pickup truck bed: AL, AK, AZ, DE, ID, IL, IN, IA, KY, MN, MS, MT, NH, ND, OK, SD, VT, WA, WV, and WY. See the guidelines for all the states in our table below.
This data came from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration via IIHS. Note that in many states, a police officer could still pull you over for unsafe driving if you have passengers without seatbelts, or pull you over for endangering a minor who is riding in your pickup truck’s bed. The letter of the law aside, what is actually permitted in your state will depend on local officials.
|State||Who can ride in truck beds|
|Alabama||No state law limiting who can ride in truck beds|
|Alaska||No state law limiting who can ride in truck beds|
|Arizona||No state law limiting who can ride in truck beds|
|Arkansas||Employees during work, when in a space that’s 1) inside the truck’s body and 2) intended for merchandise.|
|California||If 1) Using a federally-approved system, 2) During a parade 8 MPH or slower, 3) In a farmer-owned truck on a farm or highway 1 mile or shorter between two parts of the farm, or 4) during an emergency.|
|Colorado||Anyone if the bed is at least partially enclosed on all four sides.|
|Connecticut||People 16 or older. People 15 and under are allowed with seat belts. Also parades, farming, and hayrides in August-December.|
|Delaware||No state law limiting who can ride in truck beds|
|District of Columbia||Employees during work, when in a space that’s 1) inside the truck’s body and 2) intended for merchandise.|
|Florida||No restrictions for passengers 18 and older. Passengers 17 and younger must be in an enclosed cargo area or a seat fitted with a seatbelt. Some local laws and limited-access roads may prohibit minors from riding in truck beds.|
|Georgia||No restrictions off the interstate. On the interstate, people 17 and under must be in a covered cargo area.|
|Hawaii||No restrictions on parades, employees during work hours, and life-threatening emergencies. Otherwise, only passengers 13 and older, with the tailgate closed, and only if all other seats are taken. Also, passengers cannot unlash cargo while the truck is moving.|
|Idaho||No state law limiting who can ride in truck beds|
|Illinois||No state law limiting who can ride in truck beds|
|Indiana||No state law limiting who can ride in truck beds|
|Iowa||No state law limiting who can ride in truck beds|
|Kansas||No restrictions off the highway/outside of city limits. Otherwise, only people 14 or older, employees, or parade participants.|
|Kentucky||No state law limiting who can ride in truck beds|
|Louisiana||Parades under 15 MPH. On the interstate highway, only people over 12. During an emergency, a person 12 or under can ride in a truck bed on the highway only if accompanied by an adult.|
|Maine||Anyone 19 and older, agricultural workers and farmers 18 and under, all parade participants, and anyone in an OEM-installed seat.|
|Maryland||Anyone 16 and older. Anyone 15 and younger under 25 MPH. All employees on the way to a worksite or farm workers on duty. Must still use child restraints and/or seat belts unless the cargo area is covered.|
|Massachusetts||Anyone 12 and older. Participants in parades or farming activities. Passengers 11 and younger only if the truck is traveling 5 miles or less at a speed under 5 MPH.|
|Michigan||Passengers 18 and older or anyone in a parade, military vehicle, emergency situation, farming, or construction. Trucks moving 15 MPH or less can transport passengers 17 or younger in the bed.|
|Minnesota||No state law limiting who can ride in truck beds|
|Mississippi||No state law limiting who can ride in truck beds|
|Missouri||Anyone 18 or older. Passengers 17 and younger only outside of city limits/off the highway. Exceptions include employees, agricultural activities, parades, special events, assisting with recreational activities, family-owned trucks with all cab seats occupied, trucks with a covered cargo area, and trucks equipped with safety devices to keep passengers in the bed.|
|Montana||No state law limiting who can ride in truck beds|
|Nebraska||Passengers 18 or older or parade participants|
|Nevada||Passengers 18 or older. Anyone during ranching, an authorized parade, driving on dirt roads, or in a camper shell.|
|New Hampshire||No state law limiting who can ride in truck beds|
|New Jersey||Employees on duty|
|New Mexico||Anyone 18 and older|
|New York||No limitations on trips under 5 miles, when 1/3 of passengers stand for the entire trip, if seats are installed, and rails and a tailgate are used, when there are less than five minors in the truck bed, or at least one adult in the truck bed.|
|North Carolina||Anyone 16 and older. Passengers 15 and younger when the truck is moving less than 25 MPH or if the minor is in an OEM-installed seat with belts. Anyone during an emergency, parade, agriculture, or in a truck with a permanent overhead structure.|
|North Dakota||No state law limiting who can ride in truck beds|
|Ohio||Anyone 16 and older. Passengers 15 and younger when the trip is under 25 miles or if the minor is in an OEM-installed seat with belts. Anyone during an emergency or in a truck with a covered cargo area|
|Oklahoma||No state law limiting who can ride in truck beds|
|Oregon||Anyone 18 and older. Anyone during a parade. Any minor with a seat belt. Minors can also ride on the bed floor if all available seats are filled by minors, the tailgate is closed, and the minor is an employee on duty or a hunter during a hunt.|
|Pennsylvania||Anyone 18 or older in a truck moving less than 35 MPH. Passengers 17 and younger in an enclosed cargo area, during a parade, hunting, or farm operations.|
|Rhode Island||Anyone 16 and older. Anyone 15 and younger who is secured in the cargo area.|
|South Carolina||Anyone 15 and older. Anyone younger than 15 in the presence of an adult, if they have a seat belt, are part of a parade, emergency situation, agricultural activity, hunting, or is protected by a metal tailgate in a truck moving less than 36 MPH.|
|South Dakota||No state law limiting who can ride in truck beds|
|Tennessee||Anyone 12 and older. A passenger between the ages of 6 and 11 off the highway. Any participant in a parade less than 20 MPH, agricultural activities, or on a city or county road without ordinances prohibiting it.|
|Texas||Anyone 18 or older in a vehicle owned by a member of their household, in a parade, during a hay ride, driving on a beach, during an emergency, during farm operations, or while traveling between farm fields.|
|Utah||Anyone off the highway, employees on duty, and people riding in a vehicle space intended for a load.|
|Vermont||No state law limiting who can ride in truck beds|
|Virginia||Anyone 16 and older, farmers crossing the highway to travel between fields.|
|Washington||No state law limiting who can ride in truck beds|
|West Virginia||No state law limiting who can ride in truck beds|
|Wisconsin||Anyone in an enclosed area, during farm operations, a parade, deer hunting, employees, or in a space inside the truck body intended for merchandise.|
|Wyoming||No state law limiting who can ride in truck beds|
Next, find out if it’s illegal to walk on the highway or learn more about riding in the bed of a pickup truck in Georgia in the video below: