Is It Legal for Texans to Ride in the Bed of a Pickup or Trailer?
The state of Texas has strict laws dealing with passengers riding in open truck beds and trailers. When it comes to the passengers in our vehicles, Texas law requires all interior passengers - young and old alike - to be properly restrained by a seatbelt or an appropriate car seat. Passengers 17 and under are NOT allowed to ride in an open pickup truck bed, open flatbed truck, or an open flatbed trailer.
There are a few exceptions to this law. These exceptions include parades, slow driving on a beach, hayrides with county permits, and some farm work. If you are caught with passengers who are restricted by law from riding in truck beds or trailers, the violation is a misdemeanor and will carry a first-offense fine of $25 to $200 for the vehicle operator.
However, a pet may ride in the bed of a pickup truck throughout Texas, and the vehicle operator faces NO penalties or violations. Texas does not restrict or prohibit animals from riding in open truck beds or trailers un-restrained.
A word of advice, some cities do have ordinances that prohibit or restrict the transportation of animals or pets in an open bed. For example, Dallas does NOT allow the unsecured transportation of pets in open beds. It's recommended to check first with the Texas Veterinary Medical Association for guidelines on securing your pet in truck beds and trailers.
The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends all pets be secured in a kennel in an open bed or harnessed inside the vehicle.