Can Texas Truck Owners Legally Drive With Their Tailgate Down?
I'll admit, I've done it many times. As a matter of fact, I drove to the radio station in Tyler, Texas yesterday morning with my truck tailgate down hauling absolutely nothing. Most truck drivers in Texas have done this, either intentionally or by mistake, but are they breaking the law? Did I just admit to you that I was breaking the law in Texas?
Why do Texans drive their trucks with the tailgate down anyway? Is it to look cool, save on gas, or just forget to put it up? It's a little bit of everything I guess. Let's answer the main question if it's legal or not first.
After looking at the Texas Transportation Code, it all depends upon what's in the bed of that truck. Simply put, if the bed of the truck is empty, then you're not breaking the law. However, if you have any kind of loose material and that tailgate is down and the load isn't covered or properly secured, you could receive a citation.
Here's what the transportation code says:
Sec. 725.021. CONTAINING LOOSE MATERIALS. (a) A vehicle subject to this chapter shall be equipped and maintained as required by this section to prevent loose material from escaping by blowing or spilling.
(b) A vehicle bed carrying a load:
(1) may not have a hole, crack, or other opening through which loose material can escape; and
(2) shall be enclosed:
(A) on both sides by side panels;
(B) on the front by a panel or the vehicle cab; and
(C) on the rear by a tailgate or panel.
So if you're hauling loose articles like dirt, sand, gravel, refuse, and wood chips you need to make sure that the tailgate is up and the load is secured and covered to prevent spillage or blowing away.
There is an exception though. If the load you are carrying is oversized or sticks out the back of bed of the truck it must be properly secured and covered as well.
Driving With Tailgate Down Saves On Gas
You might have heard that driving with the tailgate down saves on gas and increases gas mileage. That is apparently a myth that has been busted by Rumble On and Consumer Reports. The test in this video shows that driving with the tailgate up is actually better for your truck.
Easy thing to remember - TAILGATE UP - but know you're not breaking the law driving with it down unless you're hauling loose material that's not properly secured.
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