Pickup trucks are not only becoming a popular purchase among families in NC, but they are often used by many employers to complete a wide array of jobs. In fact, some companies rely solely on their pickup trucks to transport the equipment they need to get a job done. Take for instance a lawn mowing company or a farmer who runs an agricultural business. It is very common to see either type of business run directly out of a pickup truck.

But what happens when the owners and operators of these businesses have employees working alongside them? There clearly isn’t enough room for all workers to fit inside the cab of the truck as there is limited seating space which means most are left to sit in the bed of the truck. So, how safe is this practice and is it legal?

As unsafe as it might seem, it isn’t illegal in the state of North Carolina for an individual to sit in the back of a moving pickup truck. However, there are certain laws that stipulate who can and cannot sit in an open bed or open cargo area of a vehicle. According to North Carolina General Statute § 20-135.2B, the operator of a vehicle shall not allow a child that is under the age of 16 to be transported in the bed or cargo area of their vehicle. To be clear, the law defines an open bed or open cargo area as “a bed or cargo area without permanent overhead restraining construction.”

Now, this doesn’t mean that someone who under the age of 16 is never permitted to ride in the bed of a truck. In fact, they can so as long as they meet one of the following criteria:


  1. An adult is present in the bed of the truck and is there to supervise the child.
  2. The “child is secured or restrained by a seat belt manufactured in compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208, installed to support a load strength of not less than 5,000 pounds for each belt, and of a type approved by the Commissioner.”
  3. There is an emergency situation that has arisen.
  4. The vehicle is being used in a parade.
  5. The vehicle is being operated in an agricultural enterprise.


What this also means is that if you are over the age of 16, then you are permitted to ride in the bed of a truck. Now, although adults and children ages 16 years of age or older are allowed to ride in the bed of a truck, it doesn’t mean it is safe for them to do so.


Here’s why you might reconsider allowing someone to ride in the bed of your pickup truck, whether it is a relative wanting a ride or an employee you are transporting around.


  1. There is a higher risk of them falling out of the vehicle. Let’s say someone needs to change positions while sitting in the back of the truck and they stand up to quickly maneuver into a different position. The truck makes an abrupt turn or rides over a pothole in the road causing the vehicle to be thrown off balance. The chances of that person falling out of the vehicle are rather high.


  1. If you were to engage in a collision, those riding in the bed of the truck are more likely to suffer from a serious or fatal injury.


truck crash lawyers in Wilmington, NC

While sitting in the bed of a truck might seem like a convenient alternative to having workers operate their own vehicles, it is a safety hazard as they aren’t restrained and could potentially fall out or suffer a severe injury in the event of a crash.

And if you or someone you know suffered an injury after the truck they were riding in engaged in a collision in Wilmington, NC, contact a New Hanover, NC truck accident attorney as soon as possible. If the accident left them suffering from debilitating injuries or resulted in their death, you will want to find out what forms of legal action can be taken against the driver and/or the other party who may have been responsible for causing the wreck.

To get connected with a local attorney in the Wilmington area now, contact USAttorneys.com.