Arkansas has laws regulating seatbelts and child restraints in vehicles, but the state also has rules prohibiting passengers from riding outside of the vehicle interior. This article explains when a passenger or pet can ride in the bed of a pickup truck and the penalties for a violation.
Arkansas’s seatbelt laws require all front-seat passengers and children under 16 years old to be properly restrained. Passengers are also prohibited from riding in any vehicle area “not designed or intended for the use of passengers.” This prohibition includes truck beds, vehicle hoods, and vehicle trunks.
Permitting a passenger to ride in the bed of a pickup truck is a misdemeanor for the driver. Fines for violations range from $100 to $500 depending on how many prior violations the driver has. A misdemeanor conviction can also result in jail time.
While humans are prohibited from riding in truck beds, animals are not. However, Arkansas does prohibit the “cruel or inhumane” transportation of an animal in a motor vehicle or boat. So animals can ride in a truck bed, but excessive danger or cruelty could result in a misdemeanor citation. An animal cruelty conviction will result in a $150 to $1,000 fine, one day to one year jail, and a psychiatric evaluation requirement.