Looking around at other vehicles along Louisiana’s state highways doesn’t require one to look too far before seeing a pickup truck with someone riding in the back.
However, state law places several restrictions that could make a quick trip up the road or a joy ride illegal.
In Louisiana, it is illegal for children under the age of 12 to ride in the back of a pickup truck, or utility or house trailers.
“Although it’s dangerous for anyone to ride in the back of a pickup, for kids it can be deadly,” said Bossier Sheriff’s Lt. Bill Davis said. “Often times, it may just be a quick drive or someone doesn’t know it’s against the law, but one swerve or slamming on the brakes can be scary and dangerous for those in the back.”
Louisiana Revised Statute 32:284 makes it illegal for anyone, regardless of age, to ride in the back of a vehicle when on a interstate roadway. As city and state roadways, children under the age of 12 are not allowed to be in the back of a moving vehicle. The law does not apply to vehicles traveling under 15 miles per hour as part of a parade or in an emergency situation. Davis said while deputies, ins some instances may give just a warning, most often drivers who break this law receive a citation for a mandatory court appearance. That appearance costs a minimum of $129 in court costs plus any fines issued by a judge.
Davis said patrolling the parish, deputies tend to see more instances of children riding in the beds of pickups. Often, he said, people are aware it’s illegal.
“It is obviously something our deputies run into especially as the weather warms up and people travel to the lake or other activities, but anytime we’re talking about putting a kid in the back of a truck it’s dangerous,” Davis said.
Davis said unless a citizen wants to spend a day in court, it’s best to make sure everyone is in the vehicle and buckled up before leaving.
“It really is a common sense law that small children should be fastened in the main cabin of the vehicle rather than outside holding on in the back,” Davis said. “While it may seem like a hassle, it really is a law that is a simple way to keep kids safe.”