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

I'm starting a new series of short blog posts called, "Is it legal?" I will type "is it legal" into a search engine and let auto-complete take care of the rest. I will then answer the question in accordance with Connecticut law. Today, one of the auto-completes is "is it legal to ride in the back of a truck." 

I looked up the law in Connecticut and was actually surprised at this one. I had assumed that passengers could not ride in the back of a truck. Like many issues in the law, it's not so clear cut, but the answer is that it is legal for adults to ride (or actually drive with, because the law applies to the driver) in the back of a pick-up truck or other "open bed" vehicle. 

Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 14-272a prohibits carrying children under the age of 16 in the back of a truck unless they are wearing proper safety belts. It does not prohibit passengers 16 or older. Of course there's a caveat: other statutes and theories of criminal liability. Allowing any child to ride in the back of a truck could potentially lead to a charge of Risk of Injury of a Minor and possibly also Reckless Endangerment. The manner of operation could also lead to a Reckless Endangerment charge even for adult passengers. Any accident of course could lead to civil liability for injuries. 

There are exceptions for parades and farming use. Remember, just because something is legal, it still might not be a good idea to do. 


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