Is it Safe to Ride in the Back of a Ute or Boot of a Car?

We’ve all seen it in movies – people casually riding in the back of a pickup truck or stuffed into the boot of a car. But is it legal? More importantly, is it safe? Let’s find out.

The Law: Riding in Unintended Passenger Spaces

First things first, let’s clarify the legal aspect. It is indeed illegal to ride in any part of a vehicle that is not specifically designed for passengers. This includes riding in the tray or tub of a pickup truck, as well as in the boot of a car or van. And for good reason.

State Laws in Australia

While there is no federal law regarding this matter, each state in Australia has its own regulations. Let’s take a closer look at a few:

New South Wales (Sydney)

In New South Wales, it is illegal to carry passengers in any part of the vehicle that is not designed for passengers. If caught, you could face three demerit points and a fine of $344.

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Victoria (Melbourne)

Victoria takes this matter even more seriously, with multiple interpretations of the law. If you are found riding improperly in or on a vehicle not designed for passengers, you could face a fine of $370 and a demerit penalty of 2 points.

Queensland (Brisbane)

In Queensland, it is an offense to ride in the back of a utility or any part of the vehicle not designed for passengers. The fine for this is $238, along with three demerit points.

South Australia (Adelaide)

South Australia prohibits riding in the back of a ute, van, truck, or cargo area of a car due to the lack of seat belts. If caught with an occupant not wearing a seat belt, the driver may be fined $403 and receive three demerit points. The fine increases to $476 and five demerit points if there are multiple passengers in violation.

Other States and Territories

The Northern Territory, Western Australia, Australian Capital Territory, and Tasmania also have laws in place that prohibit riding in unintended passenger spaces. Fines and demerit points may vary, so it’s important to check with the relevant roads authority in your area.

Why It’s Dangerous

Aside from the legal consequences, riding in the back of a vehicle can be extremely dangerous. Without proper restraints, you are at a higher risk of serious injury or even death in the event of a crash or if you fall out of the vehicle.

Back of a Ute
Image source:


Q: What if I really need to transport someone who can’t fit inside the car?
A: It’s best to consider safer alternatives like using a taxi or rideshare service, which can provide a more secure and comfortable mode of transportation.

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Q: Are there any exceptions to these laws?
A: In general, there are no exceptions unless specifically permitted by local authorities for certain events or circumstances.


In summary, it is illegal and unsafe to ride in the back of a ute or boot of a car. Each state in Australia has its own regulations and penalties for this offense. To ensure the safety of everyone involved, it’s crucial to abide by these laws and always prioritize passenger safety.

Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry. So, let’s leave the movie scenes where they belong and prioritize responsible and secure transportation for ourselves and our loved ones.

Please note that this article is not intended as legal advice. Check with the relevant roads authority in your state or territory for the most up-to-date information.

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