The Highway Code says drivers who are behind the wheel of a car with a pet which is not safely secured could be breaking dangerous driving offences. Having a pet in the car could also invalidate your car insurance even if they were not directly involved in causing the crash.
Drivers are urged to consider investing in dog crates or safety harnesses to avoid authorities forcing the fines on distracted motorists.
The strict clause is seen in Rule 57 if the Highway Code which states animals must be suitably restrained when you are driving.
The 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 restraining animals in cars”.
Police chiefs warn that having a pet safely stored is not a legal requirement and failure to comply will not necessarily lead to an instant prosecution.
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Distractions were also up on drivers with an unrestrained dog in the vehicle as 3h 39 min was spent not focusing completely on the road ahead.
Shockingly, having a loose animal in the boot of a vehicle could allow insurers to invalidate your policy for careless driving.
MoneySuperMarket spokeswoman Rachel Wait said: “While driving with your pet in your car – whether in the boot or on a seat – might seem like a harmless way of getting from A to B, the truth is you can risk invalidating your car insurance.
“If you’re in a prang with an unrestrained pet in your car, insurers may use it against you – regardless of whether it was as a direct result of the animal itself – so it’s worth being on the safe side and making sure ‘man’s best friend’ is properly restrained.”
A recent study by Conused.com showed more than half of pet-owning drivers do not know that having a pet in a car can also invalidate an insurance policy.
One in ten drivers had an accident when travelling in a car with a pet, or had known someone who had suffered one.
Amanda Stretton, Motoring Editor at Confused.com said: “Many drivers will be joined by four-legged companions as they set off on trips across the UK.
“But drivers must restrain their dogs properly, or they could receive fines up to £5,000
“Driving with an unprotected pet can also invalidate your car insurance, meaning having to personally payout for repairs in the event of a claim.”
To get around the issue, Confused.com have advised drivers to consider using a dog crate to safely transport an animal on a car journey.
Drivers should also consider purchasing a safety harness for their animal to keep it from excessively moving around during a trip.
Motorists on long-distance journeys should stop every few hours when travelling with an animal to allow their pet to stretch their legs and have a drink.
Drivers are also urged to carry water for animals during long car journeys and to never leave pets in a vehicle during warm temperatures.
Daily Express :: Life and Style Feed