You see it all the time in the summer.  People riding in the bed of a truck - can you get a ticket if you get busted doing it?

How many times have you been riding down the road when you come up behind a pickup with some people in the bed of the truck?  Is that legal to do?  Can you get a ticket if you're driving with people in the back?

The answer is yes...and no. There are laws about it, but there are exceptions too.

What does the law actually say about riding in the bed of a pickup in New York?

First of all, we are not lawyers or police officers.  Check with your own local laws before doing anything to make sure that you do not break any of them.  Here's the actual language of the law that we found on the New York State Legislature website.  The law is listed as VAT Law 1222-2 (Persons Riding On Trucks):

Persons  riding on trucks. 1. No operator of any motor vehicle
  commonly known as an auto truck shall operate such auto truck, nor shall
  the owner thereof permit it to be operated, for a distance in excess  of
  five  miles,  while  there  is standing therein or thereon any person or
  persons in excess of one-third of  the  number  of  persons  therein  or
  thereon:
    a.  Unless  suitable  seats  are securely attached to the body of such
  auto truck;
    b. Unless side racks of at least three feet in height above the  floor
  of such auto truck are securely attached; and
    c.  Unless  it  shall  have attached thereto a tail board or tail gate
  which is securely closed.
    The provisions of this subdivision  shall  not  apply  to  persons  or
  corporations  operating an agency or agencies for public service, who or
  which are subject  to  the  jurisdiction,  supervision  and  regulations
  prescribed  by or pursuant to the public service law nor to their agents
  or  employees  when  engaged  in  the  business  of  such   persons   or
  corporations.
    2.  No  operator  of any motor vehicle commonly known as an auto truck
  shall operate such auto truck, nor shall the owner thereof permit it  to
  be  operated, in excess of five miles, while there are in excess of five
  persons under eighteen years of age in the body of such truck unless  at
  least  one  person  over eighteen years of age also rides in the body of
  said truck.
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So...what does it mean?

Essentially it's saying that you're ok if you follow these rules:

1. Don't travel more than 5 miles with people in the back

2. Make sure fewer than a third of the people are standing up

3.  Don't have more than 5 people who are under 18 in the bed unless someone over 18 is back there with them.

Should you ride in the bed of a truck?

Probably not.  It's almost always safest to ride in the cab of the truck with your seatbelt on.  However, in the case of farmers and other occupations where you have to be in and out of a truck, as long as you're not driving recklessly, it looks to be legal.

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