Can You Ride in the Back of a Pickup Truck Legally?

Riding in the back of a pickup truck is a quintessential summer activity for many. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of wind in your hair and sun on your face as you drive down the highway, singing along to your favorite songs.

But before you hop into the bed of a pickup truck, it’s important to know what the law says. Can you ride in the back of a pickup truck legally?

The answer is: it depends. In some states, such as California, riding in the back of a pickup truck is explicitly prohibited by law.

In other states, such as Texas, it is allowed under certain conditions. Generally speaking, if you’re riding in an open-bed pickup truck in any state, there are certain safety precautions that must be taken to ensure everyone’s safety.

Age Restrictions

In many states that allow open-bed pickups, there are age restrictions for passengers who ride in them. For example, in Texas passengers must be 18 years or older to ride legally in an open-bed vehicle. Additionally, some states may require that passengers wear seatbelts or other protective gear while riding in an open-bed vehicle.

Speed Restrictions

No matter where you are driving and who is riding with you in an open-bed vehicle, speed limits apply just like they do for any other type of vehicle on the road. It is important to obey all posted speed limit signs and always drive safely no matter what type of vehicle you are driving.

Insurance Requirements

In some cases, your insurance company may require that all passengers have their own separate insurance policy if they are riding in an open-bed vehicle. This requirement varies from state to state and from insurance company to insurance company so it is important to check with your insurance provider before allowing anyone to ride with you in an open-bed vehicle unprotected by a closed cab.


Riding in the back of a pickup truck can be fun but it comes with certain risks and legal requirements that must be considered before taking off down the highway with friends or family members. While some states allow open-bed pickups under certain conditions and age restrictions, others expressly forbid them altogether so it is important to check local laws before hopping into the bed of a pickup truck and heading out onto the roads.

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Susan Delgado