Does your state require dogs be harnessed in the car?
Dogs and Distracted Driving.
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This state has a law enacted which prohibits driving with an unrestrained dog in your vehicle.
This state does not have any law enacted which prohibits driving with an unrestrained dog in your vehicle.
There is some language in this state’s laws which indicates you should not drive with an unrestrained dog in your car, but it is not specific enough to determine if you can be penalized.
As of April 2017 a law prohibiting driving with an unrestrained dog in the vehicle had been proposed but defeated. No new law had been introduced. This is currently a “no law” state but is labeled to indicate legislation had been considered.
As of April 2017, there was a law currently proposed in this state to prohibit driving with an unrestrained dog in the vehicle. This is currently a “no law” state but is labeled to indicate legislation is being considered.
Does Your State Require Dogs Be Harnessed in the Car?
We bring our dogs everywhere. If we’re hiking, they’re trekking with us. We’ve figured out all of the dog-friendly stores and cafés in town. And, we wouldn’t consider a road trip without our trusty canine co-pilot. Nose prints on the windows are a sure sign of an excellent journey—or are they? Distractions behind the wheel contribute to thousands of accidents per year. In addition to texting, adjusting radio dials, and eating, a loose dog in a vehicle can be a dangerous distraction. Additionally, an unsecured dog can become a projectile in the event of an accident or sudden stop, which can cause serious injury—or death—to the dog and passengers in the car. Preventing your canine companion from distracting you while on the road—and keeping them safe for the drive—can be as simple as using a seat belt harness or securing your dog in a crate while in a vehicle. While using a pet harness in the car is recommended by pet safety advocates and veterinarians, is a dog seat belt required in your state by law?
Throughout recent years, several states have considered legislation to make dog seat belts mandatory. New Jersey made headlines in 2012 when a proposed law called for seat belts for dogs—a move that elicited strongly worded responses from those critical of the requirement. Other states have likewise proposed dog seat belt laws, Maine, New York, and Rhode Island among them. These dog safety belt requirements have been met with varying degrees of success—usually in the form of restricting dogs to the back seat of the car but not actually mandating a restraint system.
As of August 2018, only a handful of states had specific laws requiring a dog to wear a car harness or be otherwise restricted in a moving vehicle. Many states have passed laws banning dogs from the front seat, truck bed, or from hanging their head out the window. Some states, including Arizona, Hawaii, and Connecticut may charge drivers under distracted driving laws if they drive with a dog in their lap. Similarly, drivers in Los Angeles may be ticketed for driving at an unsafe speed if they’re caught with a dog in their lap—the LAPD states that no speed is safe with a pet in your lap.
While several states ban the cruel or inhumane transportation of animals, what constitutes cruelty isn’t always clear. The language surrounding dogs in truck beds is easier to understand in some cases—states including Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Minnesota have laws in place to ensure dogs in open truck beds are properly contained in a sturdy crate or cross-tethered.
The issue of properly restraining dogs in a vehicle is mentioned in the UK’s Highway Code. Rule 57 declares “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.”
Is your dog required by law to wear a seat belt harness for car travel? Lawmakers across the country stand on either side of the argument. Driving with unrestrained animals in the car could fall under state animal cruelty laws in some locations, and others may consider loose animals a distracted driving violation. Regardless of the law, the safest way for your dog to travel is secured with a dog seat belt harness or in a crate. And, if you get pulled over for swerving, speeding, or other faults caused by the distraction of a dog, you can still be ticketed for dangerous driving. Explore this interactive map of dog seat belt laws by state as of 2018 to see where dogs need to wear a seat belt harness.