Many UK drivers could now be breaking the law when it comes to travelling with their dogs. A recent shake up of the Highway Code could see many drivers now facing expensive fines of up to £5,000!
A recent study overseen by IAM RoadSmart – a leading and independent road safety charity – had disclosed that 42 per cent of dog owners admitted placing their pet in an unsafe area of the car whilst driving. This represents a significantly high number of risk takers; especially when we consider that there are 36 million licence holders and just under 13 million dogs in Britain.
Interestingly, from the 42 per cent of the dog owners who were surveyed, many admitted to driving without care, and over a third of the drivers said that they left their dogs unsecured in their seats, which increased the risk of their pet becoming badly injured or even killed if they were to be involved in a collision and the air bag was activated.
What does the Highway Code say about Pets Travelling in Cars?
The new rule declares that all pets should be “suitably restrained” when they are travelling in a vehicle. Under rule 57 of the Highway Code, it clearly 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.”
Safety Measures Include:
“A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.”
Although violating rule 57 of the Highway Code does not carry a direct penalty, UK drivers can still be fined by the Police up to £1,000 for failing to control their vehicle if their dog acts as a distraction whilst driving.
This fine could be increased to £5,000 with the driver receiving 9 penalty points if the case goes to court, with the driver then facing a more severe fine of failing to drive with due care and attention. If that was not bad enough, drivers could also be left with a substantial damage repair bill, as many insurers are thought to be unlikely to pay out for an accident in the case of a person driving without proper control of their vehicle.
Neil Greig, Director of Policy
Neil Greig, Director of Policy, and Research at IAM RoadSmart, stated: “Motorists can restrain their pets by using a dog crate, dog harness or a dog guard for the car’s boot. This ensures dogs are not allowed to roam free inside the car, removing any chance of drivers getting into hot water with the law. A loose pet also becomes a lethal projectile in the event of a sudden crash.
“Dogs are a loved and valued member of the family in millions of households up and down the country, meaning their safety when travelling should be thought about in the same way as the safety of all passengers in your vehicle.”
If you travel with your dog and want to ensure their safety whilst avoiding a penalty, the law now advises that all UK drivers restrain their dogs whilst driving. At Country Boarding for Cats and Dogs we are fully compliant with these new changes brought out in the Highway Code and ensure all our transported dogs always travel safely and securely. Our family run business has over 30 years of experience providing a friendly and professional dog boarding and cattery service for the Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and Bedfordshire regions. Call our friendly team today on 01462 742658 or send us an email at email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you.