Presence of vehicles on a bridge has been observed many times during past earthquakes. Although in practice, the engineers may or may not include the live load contribution to seismic weight in design, current bridge design codes do not specify a certain guideline. A very limited research has been conducted to address this issue from design point of view. The focus of this research is to experimentally assess the effect of a vehicle on the seismic response of a bridge through a large-scale model. In this scope, a 12-meter long bridge, having a one lane deck with concrete slab on steel girders, has been shaken under five different ground motions obtained from recent earthquakes that occurred in Turkey, in its transverse direction, both with and without a vehicle on top of the deck. The measured results have indicated that top slab transverse acceleration and bearing displacements can reduce up to 18.7% in presence of a vehicle during seismic tests, which is an indication of reduction in substructure forces. The main reason for the reduction in seismic response of the bridge in the presence of live load can be ascribed to the increase in damping of the system due to mass damper-like action induced by the vehicle. This beneficial effect cannot be observed in vertical seismic response. Copyright (c) 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.