Representative Peter Palumbo (D-Cranston) wants police to issue tickets to drivers who allow pets to sit on their laps while driving. Palumbo introduced the legislation (H.5101) in the General Assembly in Providence last week.
Unrestrained dogs, like texting while driving can be a tragic distraction to drivers and can cause serious accidents. A 2010 AAA survey revealed that 20 percent of pet owners allowed their dogs to sit on drivers' laps while driving.
In New Jersey, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals can charge a driver with animal cruelty if an animal is improperly being transported. Hawaii explicitly forbids pets to ride on a driver's lap. Arizona, Connecticut, and Maine also have laws concerning animals distracting drivers.
If Cranston's legislation becomes law, a driver could face a fine of $85 for the first offense, $100 for the second offense, and $125 for subsequent offenses. Cranston states he is an animal lover, but according to cbslocal.com, the state representative contends common sense dictates that drivers and unrestrained pets are a danger to both humans and animals. In the case of an accident, a pet can easily become a projectile resulting in serious injury or even death to drivers, passengers, and pets.
There are many options available to pet parents when traveling with Fido or Fluffy. Dog harnesses can secure a dog comfortably in place by clipping onto the seat belt buckle. Also look for solutions with dog safety seats and travel crates.
The legislation now moves to the House Judiciary Committee.
What is your opinion on securing pets while driving? Should there be a law?
If you would like to continue receiving the latest news on pet issues and how we can help those who cannot speak, please click the "Subscribe" icon.
Follow the National Pet Rescue Examiner on Facebook by clicking here. Please visit and "like" my page. You are welcome to submit story ideas by contacting me at email@example.com.