It’s now something most of us do now without thinking – you climb into your car, reach for your seatbelt and buckle up. And if you’ve got kids, then obviously you’ll do the same for them. Making sure that you and your passengers are safely restrained while you’re driving is second nature.
A high price to pay
But what about your pets? For many people, taking their dog in their car with them is just a matter of asking them to lie down on the back seat and throwing them a dog toy to keep them occupied – but the rules of the Highway Code are actually pretty strict in this area. The penalties for driving with an unrestrained pet are potentially very high – and reflect just how dangerous having a dog loose in your car can be.
The letter of the law
So, let’s take a look at what the Highway Code actually says: “When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly.”
Due care and attention
What this means is that if you’re driving without restraining your dog, then you could potentially be distracted – or even injured by them if you have to slam the brakes on. So, in terms of the law, being distracted by your dog in the back seat could open you up to being charged with driving without due care and attention. That’s a big deal – and an offence that can land you with a maximum fine of £2,500 and up to nine penalty points. And as if that wasn’t serious enough, extreme breaches of the Highway Code can even lead to you having a compulsory ban and then needing to take a re-test.
Time to invest
The law is clear in this area and here at Big Motoring World we’d strongly advise that you invest in a good seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard – and keep everyone safe while you drive.