Does Your State Require Dogs Be Harnessed in the Car?

Dogs and Distracted Driving

Does your state require dogs be harnessed in the car?

Dogs and Distracted Driving.

What type of dog restraint law does your state enforce?

Click Law Types Below


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.

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10 thoughts on “Does Your State Require Dogs Be Harnessed in the Car?

  1. Larry Tyler

    Sad to say. I see Dogs riding unharnessed everyday in the back of a pickup truck. In my life I have rescued four dogs that fell out of the trucks while the driver drove on. We need a law to stop this.

  2. Pingback: How to Drive Safely with Your Dog in the Car | Scott's Fort Collins Auto

    1. Orvis

      Hi AD,
      We had an outdated source. Thank you for your correction! We welcome any info/leads for changing laws or corrections. Please let us know if you see anything else fishy.

  3. Ian

    Hi, your interactive map seems to be broken.
    I hope you can fix it, it was a great resource I was hoping to link to in an article I’m writing about dog auto safety.

    1. Orvis

      Hi Ian,
      Sorry, the blog moved to a new subdomain and the map broke in the process. Should be all set now. Thanks for thinking of sharing the map with others. We hope you can still find a place for it in a future article. Safe travels.

  4. Ronnie j troy

    Is the map current?? I live in the state of Washington are the laws for or against your dog being restricted in your car??

    1. Orvis

      Hi Ronnie,
      The Washington law we found here suggests that transporting your dog in an unsafe manner is illegal. However, they do not state that the dog must be restrained in a specific way, which is why we labeled the law “ambiguous”. With that said, it’s safest to restrain your dog using a crate or harness at all times while in a vehicle.

      “Any person who wilfully transports or confines or causes to be transported or confined any domestic animal or animals in a manner, posture or confinement that will jeopardize the safety of the animal or the public shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. And whenever any such person shall be taken into custody or be subject to arrest pursuant to a valid warrant therefor by any officer or authorized person, such officer or person may take charge of the animal or animals; and any necessary expense thereof shall be a lien thereon to be paid before the animal or animals may be recovered; and if the expense is not paid, it may be recovered from the owner of the animal or the person guilty.”

  5. AD

    Your interpretation of the NJ law is incorrect. If you read through the statutes that you linked to you will find no mention of crates or restraining devices. The law only covers transport in a “cruel or inhumane manner” and to date there is no interpretation by a judge, attorney, or police officer that includes improper restraint. The intent as has been stated publicly is to reduce animals in truck beds, on drivers’ laps, or with their heads fully out the window.


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