I saw someone mention that it's completely illegal to ride in the back of a truck bed if you are in Illinois. That's technically not accurate as there are some exceptions, but they are very specific.

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I decided to explore this topic purely out of curiosity. I grew up in a different era when we all rode in the back of pickups, drank from water hoses and did most of the things that society now frowns upon. However, just because I did it doesn't mean that it makes sense to do it now. I have been reminded that I am frequently the poster child for "DON'T".

With that in mind, let's explore whether you can legally ride in the back of a pickup in Illinois. The short answer is most of the time not, but there are exceptions. If you'd like to read the long version (and have a lot of time on your hands, you can see the entire (625 ILCS 5/) Illinois Vehicle Code here. Illinois Legal Aid simplified it greatly and I'll happily summarize.

Here are the scenarios where you can legally ride in the back of a pickup in Illinois based on my research and with much help from Illinois Legal Aid.

  • Anyone any age can be in a truck bed if you're being towed in a parade and the truck is going less than 15 mph
  • Anyone over 18 can ride in a truck bed that is going less than 15 mph and you need to be buckled up
  • You can ride in the back of a truck bed if you are over 18 and it's deemed that you're being transported from a situation that would be more dangerous (e.g. - you were in an accident and you'd have to stand on the side of a road)

I rode in the back of my dad's El Camino when I was a kid coming back from baseball games back before laws were passed to prohibit it and I survived (to the dismay of many). Looking back, I can see how that might have ended badly and I'm not recommending anyone defy the law now. No doubt it's much safer to be inside of a vehicle wearing a seat belt instead of flailing in the wind. But, know there are some exceptions to this understandable safety rule in Illinois.

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