Is Your Dog Making You a Distracted Driver?

Dogs in Car

We’ve all seen how texting and talking on the phone while driving can be a safety hazard, causing unsafe distracted driving and even car accident fatalities. But is that cute little dog sitting on your lap also causing you to be a distracted driver? Lawmakers in an increasing number of states think so, and are taking steps to ensure that you and your dog don’t contribute to the problem of distracted driving in the U.S.

The Connecticut General Assembly is considering a bill that would make driving with your pet on your lap illegal, and subject to the same penalties as driving while texting or talking on the phone. Connecticut already has a hands-free law for mobile devices, but legislators feel that driving with an unrestrained dog in your lap is also a safety issue.

Animal advocates agree that this practice poses a safety hazard for the dogs themselves. The Connecticut Humane Society states that pets should never be loose in the car and has come out in support of the proposed new legislation.

Dog in Car

Legislators note that driving with a dog in your lap is especially a problem with owners of popular toy breeds who like to take their dogs everywhere with them. The safest way to drive with your dog is to place him in a harness or crate in the back seat, away from the driver and secured in case of an accident.

Connecticut would be joining a handful of other states that already have—or are considering—similar bans on unrestrained pets in motor vehicles. These include New Jersey, Hawaii, California, and Rhode Island.

For more on the issue of distracted driving with dogs, and Connecticut’s efforts to address the problem, click HERE.