truck beds legal


author-thumbnail Grover Collins

BY Grover Collins

Founder & Managing Member

Nashville attorneys at Collins Legal explain the rules of the road when it comes to riding in the back of trucks. Read more here.

Remember the days of old, when you rode in the bed of a pickup truck? When you see that now, you wonder: Is it still legal? Rest easy, we have the answer.

According to Tennessee law, you MAY transport passengers in the bed of a truck. However, you must follow these three steps to ensure you’re on the right side of the law.

Step 1: Make Sure You Have the Right Kind Truck

According to Tennessee Rules of the Road, the only way you can legally transport anyone in the bed of a truck is if the truck has:

  1. A pickup body style (yes, El Caminos still count), and
  2. A manufacturer’s half-ton or three-quarter ton rating.
  3. Half-ton pickup trucks include Ford F-150s, Chevrolet 1500-series, GMC 1500-series and Dodge 1500-series.
  4. Three-quarter ton pickup trucks include Ford F-250 Super Duty, Chevrolet 2500-series, GMC 2500-series and Dodge 2500-series.
  5. One-ton pickup trucks include Ford F-350 Super Duty, Chevrolet 3500-series, GMC 3500-series and Dodge 3500-series.

If you have a truck that has pickup body style and has a manufacturer’s rating of half-ton or three-quarter ton, then you have met STEP ONE and may proceed to STEP TWO.

Step 2: Passengers Must Be Old Enough

The Tennessee Rules of the Road are different depending on the age of the passenger. According to Tennessee Code Annotated §55-8-189:

  1. Passengers under the age of six years old: NEVER permissible to allow them in the bed of the truck.
  2. Passengers between the ages of six and eleven: SOMETIMES permissible to allow them in the bed of the truck. It depends on what type of roads you are driving on. If you fall into this category, proceed to STEP THREE for further clarification.
  3. Passengers over the age of twelve years old: ALWAYS permissible to allow them in the bed of the truck. Even on the interstate.

Step 3: Make Sure You Are Driving on the Right Roads

The Tennessee Rules of the Road are also different depending on the type of road you are on.

  1. Municipal street or county road: Anyone six and older are free to ride in the bed of the truck.
  1. State highway or interstate: Must be at least twelve years old to ride in the bed of the truck.

CAVEAT: If you are in Davidson County, take note. Davidson County places one additional limitation on riding in a truck bed. Metro Code 12.68.140 requires all persons in truck beds to ride within the “space intended for merchandise.” This means that you must keep your feet and arms within the truck bed at all times. No portion of the person’s body should be hanging outside of the truck bed.



< 6 Years Old 6-11 Years Old 12- Adult
Municipal Streets Not Permitted Permitted Permitted
County Roads Not Permitted Permitted Permitted
State Highways Not Permitted Not Permitted Permitted
Interstates Not Permitted Not Permitted Permitted

For immediate legal help from a Nashville attorney, contact us at Collins Legal. There you have it, folks. Now you know.


in the news

→  BLOG: Are golf carts street legal in downtown Nashville? 

→  BLOG: Was your makeup used before you bought it? 

Legal Disclaimer

All information provided on this website is for general information and attorney advertising purposes only and not intended as legal advice. Persons reading information found on this website should not act upon this information without seeking the advice of legal counsel. Said information on this website is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. Receiving and/or viewing said information does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Prior to acting on any legal information found on this website or otherwise, Collins Legal advises you to seek the advice of legal counsel.