Can Pickup Trucks Drive On Parkways?

Knowing where you can and cannot drive your pickup truck will save you the hassle of getting a traffic ticket and help keep pedestrians and fellow motorists safe. In this article, we have researched and asked the experts whether you can drive your beautiful pickup trucks on parkways. 

This will depend on the state; there are different laws governing every parkway in America. In general, if you are a commercial vehicle, you are automatically not allowed to drive on any parkway. If your truck is registered as a commercial car or weighs more than 26,000 lbs, you cannot drive on parkways. But if your truck is registered as a passenger or non-commercial vehicle, you can drive on parkways. 

The topic of pickup trucks on parkways is a handful. If you want to learn more details to avoid any scuffle with the law, continue reading as we delve into further information about this subject. Questions like what states you can drive your pickup on parkways and what is considered a commercial vehicle will all be answered. So please continue reading to learn more about it. 

White pickup truck in autumn forest with pine trees - Can Pickup Trucks Drive On Parkways

Are pickup trucks allowed on parkways?

The innovation in vehicles has brought unprecedented changes in the use and perception of pickup trucks. The law regarding the ban of pickups on parkways is rooted in the intent to use a truck for commercial hauling. 

Unlike today, pickups were primarily designed and used specifically for work, such as hauling and towing heavy equipment. Their designs were intended for working people and not for family use. They lacked the modern amenities used for recreational driving but were already very capable off-road vehicles ever since.


Fast forward to the present, pickup trucks now are more lavish, luxurious, and family-friendly. They are currently utilized for city driving, family vehicles, etc., which deviates from their original purpose.

That is why we are seeing laws against pickup trucks easing up. Now, they are not automatically categorized as commercial vehicles. The increase of pickup trucks on the road also helped integrate them into parkways. 

A great example of this is New York. In 2020, the city made it eligible for pickup trucks to be included on the list of vehicles allowed to go through their parkways.

What parkways allow pickup trucks to drive on them?

Photo of a couple on a road trip with their dog

There are two types of parkways in America: state and national. If it is a state parkway, it is managed by the state where it is located. At the same time, national parks and parkways are governed by the National Parks Services (NPS). But state law is still followed where the national parkway is located.

The NPS has 11 national parkways under its jurisdiction. These are:

  • Baltimore–Washington Parkway
  • Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Clara Barton Parkway
  • Colonial Parkway
  • Foothills Parkway
  • George Washington Memorial Parkway
  • John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway
  • Natchez Trace Parkway
  • Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway
  • Skyline Drive
  • Suitland Parkway

Federal regulations dictate that as long as your pickup is registered as a passenger vehicle, it can be driven on parkways. It can also be driven if it has a double registration.

For instance, in California, a vehicle can be registered both commercially and non-commercially. This makes the vehicle street legal on parkways. 

In most instances, even if your gross vehicle weight is not 26,000 lbs, but you exceed it because of pulling a trailer, you may be required to leave your trailer or pass through an alternative route. This is because you would be going over the weight limit set on national parkways. 

What is considered a commercial vehicle?

We've been talking about commercial vehicles, but what are the things that make a vehicle commercial? The Department of Motor Vehicle or DMV defines a commercial vehicle as an automobile that is self-propelled or is being towed being operated on a public highway transporting people or even property.

The following are the criteria considered:

  • Weighs a gross vehicle rating of 10,001 lbs or more
  • Utilized or built to transport more than eight passengers at the same time, this includes a compensated driver
  • Utilized or built to transport more than 15 passengers, this includes the driver
  • Utilized or built to transport any material determined by the Secretary of Transport as hazardous. 

Please take note that each state also adds some provisions regarding their own criteria in determining a commercial vehicle. The listed above are the general laws that are usually applied.

Each state has its own interpretations; what works for one might not work for the other. It would be best to check with your local DMV for specific laws regarding this matter to avoid any hassle or scuffle while driving on the road. 

White pickup truck in autumn forest with pine trees - Can Pickup Trucks Drive On Parkways

An SUV is technically not a commercial vehicle. It can be registered as a commercial vehicle when it is used or registered as a company car. But it does not fit the description of a commercial vehicle as they do not reach the 10,000 lbs weight and can sit only up to eight persons at maximum. 

Below are some vehicles categorized by the DMV as commercial vehicles:

  • Truck
    • Box truck 
    • Semi-trailer truck 
    • Mini truck
    • Pickup truck
    • Tow truck
  • Van
  • Bus
    • Coach
  • Trailers
  • Heavy equipment
  • Travel Trailers over 10,000 pounds
  • Taxi
  • Auto rickshaw
  • Motorcycle taxi

You must also know that even a small sedan can be categorized as a commercial vehicle if it is under a company car fleet

Does Google maps make routes for trucks?

Shallow depth of field (selective focus) image with the Google Maps app on a mobile device in a car.

No, Google maps does not have a specific function for making truck routes. We suggest that you avoid using Google maps, especially if you will be hauling heavy equipment, as you may be led into a route where commercial and heavy vehicles are not allowed to drive. This can result in a ticket. 

As a driver, this can be very frustrating. That is why route planning is imperative. Accidentally driving on a prohibited road can cause your precious time, especially if you are on a time crunch to bring your deliveries to your destinations. 

You can use apps like Sygic, PTV Navigator, and TruckMap that are specifically designed to create routes for commercial driving. These apps also have real-time updates on if there are changes in your usual routes or if a new way is available for you. 

Truck-specific apps like these will not only save you time but also energy and fuel consumption as you will have a definite route where you can plan how you will finish it. 

Since Waze mainly gets its navigation maps from google, it is best used only as a complementary or backup route planning app and should not be your primary navigation app.

Truck-specific apps are still the best option for route planning when it comes to commercial truck driving. Though sometimes, if you work for a trucking company, GPS devices and apps can be provided for your route planning. 

White Pick-up Truck

Pickup trucks are one if not the most versatile form of vehicle ever created. With the new type of trucks coming out today, they are not just working vehicles but are also luxury family cars that owners would enjoy.

They are built to be abused and can take a beating. Pickup trucks are also capable off-road vehicles. Their high ground clearance and powerful engines can conquer any unpaved path. They are also notorious for tracking up the miles and can last you a very long time. 

You can use them as a recreational vehicles for overlanding, road trips, etc. You can also use them as a daily driver and even convert them into a camper. So to answer the question, yes, pickup trucks are worth every penny. 

A Short Recap

Pickup trucks have slowly been accepted as more than just commercial vehicles and can now also be categorized as passenger or personal use vehicles. The way owners now use their pickup trucks has triggered parkways to allow pickup trucks to drive on their turf.

But of course, there are still rules, regulations, and standards that should be met, like the weight limit of your truck. All these are in place to ensure everyone using the parkways is having a good time but, most of all, is safe. 

Here are some previously written articles that we made for your reading. Go ahead and check them out to learn more. 

Why Are Pickup Trucks Lower In The Front?

What Pickup Trucks Can Be Flat Towed?

What Pickup Trucks Are Made In The USA?

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