Is It Legal to Drive a Truck Without a Truck Bed?

A pickup without a bed is called a box delete, as the bed of a truck is also known as a box. You can drive a truck without a bed, but you need to add some safety gear. Otherwise, you’ll be pulled over by the police.

A truck without a bed may also be referred to as a chassis cab or a half-truck. This type of vehicle allows you to upfit customized equipment to the cab of the truck instead of a bed. In many cases, the truck may show nothing more than the cab and bare frame rails.

A pickup does not require up fitting – it either comes with a bed or does not have a bed installed. Pickups are normally used for casual driving or for hauling. 

Most chassis cabs are made for work. Therefore, the truck cabs and equipment may be used in landscaping, forestry, waste management, agriculture, and construction.

Know the Rules for Driving a Truck With and Without a Bed

Whether or not you have a truck bed, you should know the safety rules for operating the vehicle

Don’t Transport Minors in a Bed of a Truck

For example, it is illegal in Texas to transport a minor (18 or younger) in a truck bed. Passengers must be over the age of 18. 

Don’t Operate Your Truck with the Tailgate Down Unless You’re Hauling a Bulky Load

Also, you cannot operate a truck with a bed with the tailgate down. Unless you’re driving a bulky load (which has to be safely secured), you’re breaking the law if you drive and don’t close the tailgate.

Install the Required Accessories If You’re Driving a Truck Without a Bed

If you choose to drive without a bed, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got the required tail lights and reflectors installed, add the license plate, and include turn signals, mud flaps (guards), and a rear bumper. If you have all these items on your truck, you can drive legally.


Indeed, tail lights are an important accessory, as they prevent accidents. In Texas, you need to have at least two tail lamps on your truck or car unless the vehicle was manufactured before 1960. In that case, the truck should have one tail lamp appearing at the rear. 

When the lamp is illuminated, it should plainly show a red light that is seen from a distance of 1,000 feet.


You’ll need to add at least two red reflectors on the vehicle’s rear. A reflector can be added as part of the tail lamp. It should be installed at the height of at least 15 inches, up to five feet. Motorists should be able to see the light, at night, from any distance.

Turn Signals

Turn signals should show amber or white on the front and amber or red on the rear.

The Rear Bumper

You can’t drive without a bumper, as doing so can put you in jeopardy. A bumper is designed to reduce physical damage to the rear or front of a vehicle in crashes that happen at a reduced speed. 

The bumper, by design, safeguards an auto’s hood, grille, trunk, exhaust, cooling system, and fuel line. The shield may be made of aluminum, rubber, plastic, or steel.

Mud Flaps

The addition of mud flaps on your truck help reduce the amount of road dirt, rocks, and salt – all of which can damage sensitive electronics via the undercarriage. If this occurs, it can increase your risk of an accident.

The License Plate

Your license plate serves as your vehicle’s identity tag and confirms your legal ownership of your truck.

What Can Happen If Your Drive Without Taillights, a Bumper, or Turn Signals

The tail lights and bumper are indeed both important, as they both can reduce the possibility of a fatal crash. If you’re involved in a rear-end collision, the other driver may avoid liability if you lacked tail lights, they were not working, or you did not have a bumper or turn signals installed.

A rear-end wreck occurs when the front bumper of an auto crashes into the back bumper of another vehicle. According to the Insurance Information Institute, just over 2,400 people died in rear-end accidents in 2020, making this type of mishap one of the deadliest types of wrecks.

Therefore, if you don’t have the required turn signals installed, you can run into some major problems. If someone cannot tell you’re slowing down to turn, you can easily get hurt.

Also, while most rear-end collisions are attributed to the rear driver, driving without a bumper or taillights changes the scenario. The damages in a rear-end collision can be extensive, especially if a truck does not have a bed. 

Oftentimes, victims die in these crashes. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you have all the required safety equipment in place. 

The Modified Comparative Negligence Rule

Texas follows a modified comparative negligence rule in personal injury claims. Therefore, the settlement you receive depends on your percentage of fault.

If your contribution to the accident, for example, was 20%, you‘ll receive 80% of the allocation. However, you may not be entitled to damages either if your fault percentage surpasses 50%.

How Driving a Truck Without a Bed Can Lead to Health Problems As Well

A truck lacking a bed is more subject, aerodynamically, to both jars and jolts. The resulting vibration can lead to several types of ailments, including motion sickness, chronic back pain, stomach distress, and headaches. Some people even suffer from sleep disturbances and problems with their vision.

If you use your truck off-road, this type of jarring can increase these difficulties. This is especially true for people who work in construction or who use trucks in the agricultural and manufacturing fields. Therefore, this type of complaint can easily turn into a workplace injury claim.

Why You Should Hire a Personal Injury Attorney If You’re Involved in a Wreck in Texas

If you do happen to get rear-ended in Texas or get involved in another type of traffic accident, you should arrange to speak to a personal injury attorney, especially if you’re injured, and it’s not your fault.

If the other party is at fault, an attorney will begin the process by sending a demand letter to the insurance company. The letter includes crash details and the compensation you’re requesting. The letter also includes the negligent driver’s wrongful actions and the extent of your injuries.

The insurance company can either accept or deny your claim over a span of 15 to 45 days. If the claim is rejected, they must provide the reasons for the denial.

If the insurance company accepts the claim and the settlement amount is too low, your personal injury lawyer will try to negotiate a fairer settlement. If an agreement cannot be reached, the lawyer will file a personal injury lawsuit.

What’s a Fair Settlement?

A fair settlement for a personal injury claim in Texas covers the claimant’s medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress and other non-economic damages, property damage, and punitive damages, if applicable.

Schedule an Appointment with a Car Accident Lawyer in Texas

If you’ve been involved in an auto accident, you should contact a car wreck lawyer in Texas. Contact the legal firm of Cesar Ornelas Law now. Schedule a consultation today.


If you or a loved one has been seriously injured, please fill out the form below for your free consultation or call us at: (855) 930-1149

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