If you’re like many pet owners, you probably enjoy bringing your dog or cat along with you on road trips and daily errands. Unfortunately, pets traveling in vehicles can be a huge driving distraction when they aren’t properly secured. Tragically, tens of thousands of traffic accidents, with some including fatalities, occur each year as the result of unrestrained pets. That’s why states have enacted various laws for transporting animals. Here’s what you need to know about the different state driving laws, regarding traveling with pets.
How Driving with Pets in Vehicles Can Be Dangerous
It can be extremely dangerous to interact with pets while driving. These include behaviors, such as petting an animal when driving or allowing pets to sit in your lap. Even having a pet share your driver’s seat is risky. Another dangerous behavior is feeding a pet or offering it treats while you’re driving. Additionally, playing with a pet while you drive is especially unsafe.
Even if you don’t interact with your pet, an animal that’s unrestrained can still be hazardous. Consider how pets that aren’t restrained or secured can easily climb over to a driver’s seat or get between or underneath seats. They can also block a driver’s view of the road or knock his or her hands off a steering wheel. Another hazard is an animal getting under a driver’s feet, so it’s impossible to apply brakes.
Examples of States with More Restrictive Animal Transport Laws
Some states have stricter pet transport laws than others. For example:
States Requiring Pets to Be Secured When Traveling in the Open Part of a Vehicle
There are at least eight states with laws that require pets and other animals to be secured while being transferred in a vehicle’s open area. But most of these laws do not require animals to be secured or restrained when they’re in an enclosed portion of a vehicle. The states requiring dogs to be restrained or secured in a pickup truck bed or another area of the external part of a vehicle include New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Oregon.
In California and Massachusetts, animals are required to be contained or restrained when they’re being transported in a vehicle’s load-bearing section if the space isn’t enclosed. Furthermore, in Washington and Nevada, if animals are transported in a vehicle in such a way that puts their safety at risk, it’s considered a misdemeanor.
Other Considerations and Warnings
Sometimes, even the safest drivers get traffic tickets. At Puppy Traffic School, we provide a California online traffic school for dismissing traffic tickets. Part of the fee for the course goes to a foundation helping dogs and cats. Please contact us and learn more about our course that includes a theme featuring dogs and cats.