Yes, it’s illegal to ride in any part of the car that isn’t designed for the purpose of holding a passenger. It’s stupid, and ridiculously dangerous too, so please don’t do it.
- Sitting in any part of a vehicle that isn’t designed for seating is illegal
- There are strict penalties for riding in a car boot or tray of a ute
- It is not just irresponsible, it’s also potentially deadly
There’s no federal law against riding in the tray or tub of a pick-up truck or utility vehicle, nor is there one about riding in the boot of a car or van, but the state laws are pretty straightforward when it comes to this form of misbehaviour.
The law in New South Wales states that “it is illegal to carry passengers in a part of a vehicle not designed for carrying passengers”. So, don’t put people in the tray, or in the boot of your car or in the load space in a van. If you do, and you’re caught doing it, you could face three demerit points and a $344 fine.
If you try this on in Victoria, there’s a chance you could be charged with four different interpretations of the rules, all of which have a demerit penalty of 2 points and a standard $370 fine. They include:
- Travel in or on part of motor vehicle not designed for carriage of passengers or goods (passenger)
- Travel improperly seated or unrestrained in or on part of motor vehicle designed for carriage of goods
- Driver travelling with a passenger in or on a part of a motor vehicle not designed for the carriage of passengers or goods
- Driver carrying passenger improperly seated or unrestrained in or on part of motor vehicle designed for carriage of goods
So, again. Don’t do it. An Uber or cab for your friend who can’t fit in the car will be a cheaper, safer alternative.
The QLD government’s road rules hub states that “it is an offence for a person to ride in the back of a utility (ute)”, and that passengers must “not travel in any part of the vehicle that is not designed for passengers – the passenger carrying area must be an enclosed part of the structure of the vehicle.” The fine is $238, and it’ll cost you three demerit points, too.
It is illegal to ride in the back of a ute, van, truck or in the cargo area of a car, because there are no seatbelts fitted there. And as the driver of the car, you will be held liable for anyone in the vehicle riding un-belted. SA’s road rules handbook states that you could be fined $403 if there is one occupant not wearing a seat belt (and three demerit points), while if there are multiple passengers in the wrong, you could be stung with a $476 fine and lose five demerits.
Further: “Travelling in or on part of a motor vehicle not designed primarily for carriage of passengers or goods (e.g. back of ute)” will see you fined $403 and three points.
In the Northern Territory you, as a driver, are held responsible for every person in your car being properly restrained – whether they are a child in a baby capsule, booster or child seat, or an adult riding in the back row of your seven-seater. If you fail to do so, there are fines ($500) and demerits (three) at risk.
As with the other states, WA has a similar law. Anyone in a vehicle must wear a seatbelt – you cannot travel in the back of a ute, panel van or truck unless there are seatbelts fitted (they must be approved), and that rule applies “even if it has a roll-over protection device fitted”. WA’s department of transport states: “If you are travelling in the open load space of a utility or in the back of a panel van or station wagon you face a greater risk of serious injury or death, particularly if there is a crash or if you fall out of the vehicle.” Fines can be as high as $900, and demerit points are applicable (four points).
If you’re the wally who decides to try and ride in the back of a ute in the ACT, you yourself could be fined $208. And the driver of the vehicle? They’ll cop it, too, under the law stating “drive with passenger in vehicle part not for passengers or goods”, the fine is $208 and three demerit points.
Give someone a lift in the back of your ute in Tassie and get caught doing it, and the law will come down on both of you. The freeloader will be charged with “travel in/on part of motor vehicle not designed primarily for carriage of passengers/goods”, which has a $346 fine attached to it. The person behind the wheel could be charged with “drive with passenger in/on part of vehicle not designed primarily for carriage of passengers or goods”, and the fine is $389 / 3 points.
Not intended as legal advice. Check with the relevant roads authority in your state or territory.