North Carolina Transportation of Children in the Back of a Pickup Truck Law

(G.S. 20-135.2B)

For the text of this law, click here to download a PDF version from the NC General Assembly website.

Basic Requirements:

Children less than age 16 are prohibited from riding in open beds of pickup trucks or other open cargo area without permanent overhead restraining construction.

Note: What constitutes a permanent overhead restraining construction has never been defined by the NC Legislature or by the courts. The generally accepted interpretation is that this is a structure welded or bolted to the vehicle. A camper shell held on with clamps would probably not be considered “permanent.”

Exemptions:

Children less than age 16 are allowed to ride in the open bed of a pickup truck or other open cargo area in the following situations.  Note that while these options are technically legal, they are not recommended.

  • If an adult is present in bed or cargo area and is supervising the child.
  • If the child is secured or restrained by seat belt in compliance with FMVSS 208 installed to support load of 5,000 lbs. for each belt and of a type approved by the Commissioner.
  • If an emergency situation exists
  • If the vehicle is being operated in a parade.
  • If the vehicle is being operated in an agricultural enterprise, including providing transportation to and from the principal place of the agricultural enterprise.

Responsibility/Penalties:

  • The driver is responsible for all children less than age 16 and would receive the ticket regardless of whether the child’s parent is present.
  • Fine of not more than $25.00.

 

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