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US state looks at ticketing drivers with dogs on laps

FILE: BC SPCA recommends pets are restrained in vehicle.

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – You see them all the time, drivers with dogs in their laps. Similar to driving while talking on the phone or texting, Connecticut is looking at making that illegal but is that kind of law is needed here? With animals being unpredictable, Lorie Chortyk with the BC SPCA says having an unrestrained pet in your vehicle is distracted driving because it’s a hazard for both the driver and the pet.

However, she isn’t sure if it really needs to be a law. “Well, I think some of these things can be legislated and other things are just common sense and if there are not laws in place then we would hope people would just use their common sense. There are so many incidents where you see people driving with pets on their lap or you see animals back and forth in the car, and that has to be a distraction for the driver, and I think it really is just a matter of common sense.”

She’s urging owners to keep pets in a crate or buckled up in special seat belt to make sure they’re safe in the event of a crash or when braking suddenly.
“The BC SPCA always urges pet owners and pet guardians to keep their pets contained within a car because it’s safer for the pet and safer for the driver. If you’re in an accident and your pet flies from the back seat, that is a very dangerous thing, for distracting you and also for the pet. So, we always us urge keep dogs in crates within your car or dog seat belts.”

The Connecticut bill on the table is suggesting distracted drivers caused by dogs should get fined $150 for the first offense and up to $500 for the third violation.