This past weekend my fiance and I spent some time on Lake Mille Lacs, in northern Minnesota, and we enjoyed a family reunion of sorts. It's been a while since we've both used some vacation days at the same time so it was nice to unwind and uncharge for a few days.

One thing I've always noticed at campgrounds is there are always a lot of pickup trucks. They're usually being used to haul boats or campers, maybe even both. Another thing you'll find in the back of these pickup trucks is... people.

Whether they're running into town to grab a fresh case of beer or just riding down to the lake, you'll see a lot of people hanging out in the back of trucks when you visit a campsite. That got me wondering, can you legally ride in the back of a pickup truck in Iowa?

Unsplash - Manuel Asturias
Unsplash - Manuel Asturias

I grew up doing a decent amount of bird hunting in a pretty rural town in southwestern Minnesota. Once we would get out of town and on the land we were going to hunt on, we'd hop in the back of my dad's truck and not think twice about it. On private land, I don't see why this would be a problem in any state but what about public land or even in a bigger city?

Riding In The Back Of A Pickup Truck

For starters, Iowa and many other states don't have an actual law that says you can't ride in the back of a pickup. According to Magnum Truck Racks, 31 states do have regulations for riding in the truck bed and there are 20 states that have no legal regulation.

Iowa is one of the 20 states listed with no legal regulation on riding in the back of a pickup. If you take a drive over to Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, you're in the clear for riding in the back of a pickup as well. I will add that this isn't quite as simple as "Sure, you can hop in the back and let the wind run through your hair." There's a bit more to this.

According to KTVO-TV, "Passengers under 18 inside of the truck must be buckled up." This would mean that if you have a minor hanging out in your truck bed and get caught or pulled over, it's possible you could end up paying for it with some kind of ticket.

According to KTVO-TV, there are a few exceptions to the rule such as; agricultural purposes, special events, and parades. It should also be noted that the highway patrol does encourage drivers to have everyone inside of the truck, with seatbelts on, as it is dangerous to ride in the back of a truck, especially during any type of crash.

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