How many times when you are running errands or driving across town does a car pull up next to you at a traffic light with a pet sitting on the driver’s lap? Usually, it is a cute little dog with its head out the window while the driver has one hand around its body and the other on the wheel of the car. Little do these drivers consider how dangerous this is for their pup and for themselves and the passengers in the car.
According to a 2010 survey by AAA, 20% of pet owners drive with their pets on their lap and 30% report being distracted by them. These same drivers would not allow their child to sit in their lap when driving so why would they allow their pet to do it?
According to a recent article in USA Today, New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NJSPCA) officers are enforcing pet restraint laws with tickets ranging from $250 to $1,000 per offense. It is also illegal to drive with a pet in your lap in Hawaii, Arizona, Connecticut and Maine according to USA Today. Legislation is currently proposed in Rhode Island to report someone who witnessed a change of lanes from a driver whose vision was blocked by a lap pet. In short, as pets have become more of our family, laws are springing up to better protect them and their welfare.
What is the answer? Spend your laptime with your pet at home in your easy chair. When on the road, safety is key. Restrain your pet either by a pet harness, a pet carseat or a pet carrier or crate. Pet travel by car should be safe for everyone, including your precious cargo.