Riding In the Back of a Pickup. Is It Legal?

Oct 21, 2022 | Allen A. Ritchie

Dog on black pick up truck back view


The breeze, the bounce, the feeling of impending disaster — all part of the experience of riding in the back of a pickup truck. I have known a lot of Bama boys and girls who have done it. I might be one of them.

BUT is it legal?

This question comes after watching a lot of hillbillies last week do the same while singing Rocky Top. But don’t get me started.

First, we Americans take riding in the bed of a pickup as an individual rights issue. So much so, no two states have the same law about it. A few years ago, the Alabama legislature considered making it illegal, but since the politicians wanted to get re-elected, the bill went nowhere.

So, what is the current law?

In reality, there is no law, at least not in our state. BUT the federal law that makes you buckle up your kids in the car does apply. Therefore, anyone under the age of 15 must be restrained. Short answer – it is illegal for anyone under 15 to ride in the bed.

As only Alabama can do it, everybody riding in the truck’s front seat must wear a seatbelt no matter their age. I tell you about the law; I don’t make it.

Now, riding at fast speeds while unrestrained has its dangers. People do die. An estimated 200 people die each year in the U.S while riding in a pickup truck bed. Half of those are children or teens.

So be safe, obey the law, and choose your music well. No Rocky Top, please. By the way, the previously mentioned hillbillies tore down the goalpost to the tune of the group Alabama’s Dixieland Delight. THE GROUP ALABAMA! I said don’t get me started.

Join us on NBC 15 LawCall here in Mobile every Sunday night at 10:30, right after the news. We are taking a fall break and will offer 5-minute segments for the rest of the year and a live call-in segment every Monday on NBC 15 at around lunchtime. You can also call the Eiland & Ritchie offices at (251) 666-1212. We specifically set aside a few hours Monday morning to answer your questions.

Allen Ritchie

Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer