Is It Legal In Washington State To Ride In The Back Of A Truck?

Maybe you've seen it before -- a group of people riding in the back of a pickup truck, hair blowing in the wind, laughing, and having a good time. 

But have you ever wondered if it's legal to ride that way?

Here Are A Few Times That It Might Be Legal To Ride In The Back Of A Truck In WA

Well, in the state of Washington, the answer is not so simple.

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As a kid growing up in the 80s, we often rode in the back of my Dad's yellow Chevrolet truck. It was the best of times.

Does Washington State law still allow that today?

First things first -- it's important to note that the laws regarding riding in the back of a truck vary from state to state.

Some websites said it was legal and some websites said it was illegal. It might seem a little gray but perhaps this will help clarify the law.

Farmer in truck bed giving thumbs up

In Washington State, RCW 46.61 addresses the issue of passengers riding in the back of trucks. It states that passengers are generally not allowed to ride in the cargo area of a truck, with a few exceptions. These exceptions include:

  1. When the truck is being used in a parade authorized by local authorities.
  2. When the truck is being used in an agricultural activity, such as farming or ranching.
  3. When the truck is being used in an authorized and supervised public event, such as a festival or fair.

It's worth noting that even when these exceptions apply, there may still be additional requirements or restrictions imposed by local ordinances or regulations.

Woman tending to accident victim

The reason for this law is simple -- it's just not safe.

Riding in the back of a truck exposes you to the risk of falling out, especially if the driver makes sudden stops or turns.

Additionally, if the truck is involved in a collision, those in the back are much more likely to be injured or killed than those inside the cab.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. If the truck is being used in a parade or special event, and the riders are properly secured and supervised, it may be legal to ride in the back.

Additionally, if the truck is being used for work purposes, such as transporting equipment or livestock, riders may be allowed in the back so long as they are properly secured and the driver is adhering to all safety regulations.

But even in these exceptions, it's important to remember that riding in the back of a truck is still not safe and should be avoided if possible.

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