Is It Legal to Sit in the Back of a Pickup Truck USA?

When it comes to travelling, many people in the United States consider riding in the back of a pickup truck to be an adventure. The idea of driving down a country road with the wind in your hair and the sun on your face can be quite appealing.

Unfortunately, this is not always legal and can result in hefty fines or even jail time if you are caught.

The legality of sitting in the back of a pickup truck varies from state to state. In some states, such as Arizona and Michigan, it is completely illegal for anyone to ride in the bed of a pickup truck regardless of their age.

Other states require that children under a certain age wear seatbelts or use special child restraints if they are riding in the back. Still other states do not have any specific laws about riding in pickup trucks.

In addition to state laws, there are also federal regulations that apply when it comes to riding in the bed of a pickup truck. The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) require that all vehicles, including pickups, must have an enclosed cab with at least two front seats that are securely fastened to the frame and equipped with seat belts. This means that if you want to ride in the back of a pickup truck legally, you need to make sure that it has an enclosed cab.

It is also important to note that even if your state does not have specific laws about riding in pickups, you may still be breaking local ordinances or civil laws by doing so. If you are stopped by law enforcement while riding in the bed of a pickup truck, you could be fined or even arrested for violating these laws.


While sitting in the back of a pickup truck may seem like an adventure for some people, it is important to understand that it may not be legal depending on where you live and what safety regulations apply. It is best to check with local authorities before attempting such activities as fines and jail time can be involved if caught breaking these laws.

Photo of author

Karen Watkins