Can You Legally Ride in the Bed of a Pickup in Montana?
Many of us have fond memories of riding in the back of a pickup from our childhood. We never thought about whether or not we were breaking any laws. We were just being kids. Much has changed throughout the years, and concerns about safety have taken precedence.
My dad drove a 1989 Ford F-150 when I was a kid. It had a bench seat, so available seating was limited. Whenever we were on fishing or camping trips, all of the younger kids rode in the back because the cab was reserved for the adults.
In some states, all passengers are required to wear a seatbelt regardless of where they're riding in a pickup, but Montana isn't one of those states. While riding in the bed of a pickup is technically prohibited in the state, there are quite a few exceptions.
Is It Illegal to Ride in the Bed of a Pickup in Montana?
According to Montana HB 208, a driver may not operate a pickup truck or open bed truck upon a highway in the state with one or more passengers in or on the truck bed. As mentioned above, there are several exceptions to the law.
What Are The Exceptions?
- A passenger actually engaged in work activities during the course and scope of employment.
- A pickup truck the bed of which is enclosed by a camper or other hardcover.
- A truck participating in a parade.
- An emergency situation.
- A passenger wearing a seatbelt and occupying a seat that is firmly and adequately attached to the truck.
Also, if your pickup has a tailgate, it must be closed whenever there is a passenger in or on the truck bed.
If you're traveling down a dirt road somewhere in Montana, and you have passengers in the bed of your truck, you most likely won't get a ticket. However, you'll probably want to avoid paved roads and highways. If you do get a ticket, you could get fined up to $50, but most law enforcement in Montana will leave you alone if you're not doing anything stupid or unsafe.