Millions of motorists keen for their dogs to share family adventures break the law, risk their lives, and jeopardise the safety of their pets by not taking safety precautions while travelling in cars, The Dogs Trust Houndway Code campaign explains.
- 76% of dogs are not trained how to behave in cars
- 25% of drivers find their pets distracting
- 10% of drivers take their hands off the wheel to restrain pets
- 5% of drivers play with their animals en route
- move freely in the car and knock (say) the steering wheel
- move freely in the vehicle and be distracting
- be thrown forwards and injured if there is a collision
- be thrown forwards and hurt motorists if there is a collision
- escape through an open window into the path of traffic
Breaking Highway Code Rule 57 might lead to a charge of driving without due care and attention – even if a journey is short and the intention is to exercise, entertain and stimulate a loved pet. The potential consequence is a £2,500 fine plus 3 to 9 penalty points.
- purchase a seatbelt harness, boot crate or cargo guard
- ensure any harness is the correct size
- make the dog feel secure by surrounding it with familiar items
- ensure the dog is properly hydrated
- never leave the dog alone in a vehicle
- train the dog to wait calmly before entering/leaving the car to minimise the risk of it leaping into the path of traffic
Dogs important part of family lifeDr Rachel Casey, Director of Canine Behaviour and Research for Dogs Trust, explains: “Dogs are such an important part of people’s lives, so it is understandable owners want to take them out and about”.
“However, our survey shows many people do not know the safest way to travel with their dogs. Some are even unwittingly breaking the law by letting their dogs roam around the car whilst on the move.”