Distracted driving is a hot topic. There have been issues with people talking on the phone or texting while driving. However, something that hasn’t been brought up, but is just as dangerous as using a cell phone, is not restraining your pets while they are in the car with you.
Pet car ride survey
In a survey conducted by AAA, 20% of participants admitted to letting their dog sit on their lap while they drove. Another 31% said they were distracted by their pets. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, looking away from the road for two seconds doubles the chances of you being in an accident.
States that require animal restraints in vehicles
Surprisingly, only a few states have passed legislation requiring animal restraints in vehicles:
- New Jersey - Under state law, NJSPCA officers can stop a driver they believe isn’t transporting an animal correctly. Tickets can range anywhere from $250 - $1,000 per offense. A driver can also face a disorderly person’s offense under animal cruelty laws.
- Hawaii - Drivers are not allowed to drive with a pet on their lap.
- Arizona, Connecticut and Maine - Distracted driver laws can be used to charge drivers with pets on their lap.
- Rhode Island - A state representative has proposed a legislation to make a dog riding in your lap a distracted driving violation.
Should you buckle your pet up when you drive?
Kentucky doesn't currently have a law against driving with pets on your lap. However, it's extremely dangerous for your pet to be unrestrained while riding in a moving vehicle. Not to mention your pet will also distract you while you are driving if they are moving around. If you are in an accident, your pet could suffer life threatening injuries. Fortunately, there are many types of restraints available at pet stores, the Internet and department stores. Some items to look into include: harnesses, safety seats and travel crates. You could also give your pet a toy or treat to keep them busy during the car ride. No one wants to put their family or pets at risk. Let's keep them all safe by buckling them up when we go for a drive.
What do you think? Does Kentucky need a law for pet restraint while driving?