UK drivers are being urged to educate themselves on the laws around driving with their dogs, or face fines of up to £5,000 – as well as potentially having to retake their driving test.
Research by The Dog’s Trust suggests that more than 60% of drivers don’t believe that driving with an unrestrained pet is dangerous.
Rule 57 of the Highway Code states: “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. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of safely restraining animals in cars.”
Being in breach of this advice can see drivers facing on the spot fines of up to £1,000, a maximum fine of £5,000, nine points on their license and even a driving ban and compulsory retest.
Founder of Choose My Car, Nick Zapolski, encouraged drivers to buckle up their dogs to ensure the safety of both themselves and their beloved pets.
“Having your dog loose in the car can cause both them and you serious harm. Not only can it be very distracting, in the event of a crash, a loose dog flying through the air could be fatal.
“The safest option is to have your dog belted into the back seat, as the passenger seat airbags could also cause your pooch serious harm in the event of an accident. The belts are inexpensive to buy, and simple to use.
“Most of all, they will keep you and your dog safe, while saving you from the serious implications of breaking the Highway Code.”