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

Aaron Sachs & Associates, P.C.

Riding in the back of a pickup truck might be something you did often when growing up or something you still do when hanging out with your friends. While you might know that riding in the back of a truck is not as safe as being in the cab, you might not know if it is even legal. Is it legal to ride in the back of a truck in Missouri?

Every state has its own rules when it comes to making it lawful or unlawful to ride in the back of a truck. Here in Missouri, it is legal, but only in certain situations.

You can legally ride in the back of a truck in Missouri if you are:

  • 18 or older
  • Sitting in the back for reasons related to your employment
  • Performing agricultural tasks at the time
  • In a parade or another special event
  • Assisting someone else performing a “recreational activity” in the back of the truck
  • Using equipment to prevent you from falling out of the truck bed, like a seat or harness

You can also ride in the back of a pickup truck if it is the only vehicle your family owns and there is no room in the truck’s cab to accommodate you. Missouri law in this context considers family members as people who are immediately related to you, such as your parents and siblings. Your family must take reasonable measures to make room for you in the cab, though, which is to say that inanimate objects should be placed in the truck bed if that would make room for you.

Lastly, the restrictions apply to truck beds that are unenclosed. If there is a protective shell over the truck bed, then most of these restrictions no longer apply. However, people aged 15 or younger must always be seated with a protective belt, which could include a convertible seat added to the back of the enclosed truck bed.

Is Sitting in the Back of a Truck a Good Idea?

Even when sitting in the back of a pickup truck is legal in Missouri, does that mean it is a good idea? Not necessarily. If there is room to sit in the cab of a truck, then you should sit there because it is much safer in the event of an accident. People who are seated in a truck bed during a car accident can be ejected from the vehicle and suffer catastrophic injuries, such as brain damage or paralysis.

Sitting in the back of a truck instead of the cab can also hurt your chances of receiving a maximized recovery amount. The opposing insurance company will argue that you were willingly engaging in neglectful conduct by riding in the back of a truck and that you had accepted the heightened risk of injury in doing so. If this argument is successful, then your liability for your injuries will increase, which decreases the amount of compensation you can receive.

To protect your health and preserve your best chances of seeking compensation after an accident, you should always choose to ride in the cab or while secured to the vehicle using approved safety seats and restraints. If you must ride in the back of an unenclosed truck bed, then whoever is driving should choose a route with as little traffic as possible, even if that adds time to your trip.

For legal help after a truck accident in Missouri, look no further than Aaron Sachs & Associates, P.C. in Springfield. With more than 230 years of collective legal experience, we think working with our firm should be an easy choice! Call (888) 287-1046 or contact us online to learn more.

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