Is it legal to drive in the back of a pickup truck in North Carolina?

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(WGHP) — If you or someone you know owns a pickup truck, you’ve probably ridden in the back of a truck once or twice.

Riding in the back of a pickup can be fun and sometimes seems necessary when someone is already in the driver and passenger seat, but is it legal?

Children under the age of 16 are not permitted to ride in the open bodies of pickup trucks or other open cargo spaces without a permanent overhead restraint, according to BuckleUpNC.

However, what works as a permanent overhead restraint structure has never really been defined by the NC Legislature or the courts.

The phrase “permanent upper restraint structure” is a bit vague, but can refer to any structure welded or bolted to the vehicle that cannot be removed. What is held by clamps is not considered “permanent”.

Although there are a few legal exceptions to the under 16 rulethey are not recommended:

  • When an adult is in bed or in the luggage compartment and watching the child
  • If the child is secured or restrained by a safety belt in accordance with FMVSS 208, installed to withstand a load of 5,000 pounds per belt and of a type approved by the Commissioner
  • If there is an emergency
  • When the vehicle is traveling in a parade.
  • If the vehicle is used for an agricultural enterprise, including for providing transportation to and from the location of the agricultural enterprise

One important thing to note is that the pickup truck driver is responsible for anyone under 16, so the driver will get a ticket even if the teen’s parents are present.

The fine is about $25.00.

Is it legal to drive in the back of a pickup truck in North Carolina?

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