What Are the Dangers of Having Occupants in a Truck Bed?

January 13, 2022 | Truck Accidents

There are significant hazards associated with having occupants inside of a truck bed. Even though this practice is rather common in the state of Texas, our Austin car accident attorneys believe it is important to understand that individuals can sustain severe injuries riding in the truck bed. In some cases, these injuries occur as a result of a collision with another vehicle. However, truck bed injuries can also occur in other ways. Here, our Austin truck accident attorneys want to discuss the legality of driving with passengers in the truck bed as well as who may be liable if there is an accident that causes harm to truck bed occupants.

What Are The Dangers of Riding in a Truck’s Bed?

Riding in a truck bed is potentially dangerous. In the truck bed, there are no seatbelts, and individuals are not protected by any type of metal frame. When a person rides in the bed of a pickup truck, they can be thrown from the bed in a variety of situations.

For example, if a truck hits a larger bump on the roadway, this could cause the occupants to jolt out of their position and potentially over the side of the truck. If the driver of the truck takes a high-speed turn, this could also cause individuals in the truck bed to be ejected.

One of the worst possible scenarios for occupants inside a truck bed is a vehicle accident caused by either the truck driver or another driver on the roadway. Any type of collision could lead to truck bed occupants sustaining severe injuries, and they will likely be thrown from the truck bed.

Is it Legal to Drive With Occupants in a Truck Bed in Texas?

There is no law in the state of Texas that forbids adults from riding in the bed of a truck. However, state law does prohibit individuals younger than 18 years of age from occupying the bed of a truck or trailer. Allowing individuals under the age of 18 to ride in a truck bed is considered a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine not less than $25 and not more than $200.

However, there are some exceptions to this age limit, some of which include the following:

  • Operating or towing the vehicle in a parade or emergency
  • Operating the vehicle to transport farm workers from one field to the next, even on some roadways
  • Operating on the beach
  • Operating a vehicle that is the only vehicle owned and operated by members of the household
  • Operating a vehicle in a hayride permitted by the local municipality or law enforcement agency

Can I legally drive with passengers in the truck of my bed in Texas?

Who is Liable if There is an Accident?

Liability for an accident involving individuals riding in the truck bed can be complicated. Since there is no law prohibiting adults from riding in a truck bed, liability for a vehicle accident will be resolved in the same way it usually is for vehicle accidents. Evidence will have to be examined to determine which driver or drivers contributed to the incident.

However, if individuals under the age of 18 were in a truck bed when the collision occurred, liability for any injuries they sustain could fall to the driver of the truck as well as any person who is also found responsible for causing the accident, including other drivers. There could very well be shared liability in these situations, particularly because it is unlawful to allow underage passengers in the bed of a truck.