Driving with a dog on your lap? That’s grounds for a distracted driving ticket, says Cpl. Jesse Foreman of the Oceanside RCMP.
Not only is having unsecured pets in your vehicle a distraction, it’s potentially dangerous for the animals.
A head-on collision at the Coombs Junction on Monday, Jan. 27 caused one woman to be sent to hospital, while the pet in her vehicle, a dog, died in the accident. Following the mishap, the NEWS reached out to ask about the rules surrounding pets in vehicles.
Foreman says that the Oceanside RCMP issued a related ticket that caused quite a stir several years back.
“We actually set precedent in Qualicum Beach when we gave a ticket to someone who had a dog on their lap,” said Foreman. “I mean, that is the ultimate distraction. Having your pet on your lap while you’re driving.”
Foreman says it’s not only a distraction, but a big danger to your pet.
“From personal experience, when I worked in Sayward, I went to a collision when someone had their dog on their lap and they got in a crash. The airbag pushed the dog into their chest, and all that was left of their dog was fur and blood on their chest. That’s not something I would want anyone to go through,” said Foreman.
“There’s nothing stopping an airbag, right? So if you’re driving around and you bump into a deer, or you hit another vehicle, your dog’s going to be between you and the airbag. If we see that, we’re going to pull the person over.”
ICBC recommends your furry friends are harnessed in seat belts or in crates while driving around town – whether it’s on a quick jaunt to the grocery store or a longer road trip.
“The crate must be secured in place by a seat belt, cargo hooks, or placed by the rear seat to secure it in place. If unsecured, the crate can bounce around and even become a projectile,” reads ICBC’s page on travelling with pets.
Cats are recommended to be kept in travel carriers, as they can potentially crawl around your feet, causing problems when braking.
And although a dog in the back of a pickup truck may evoke the feeling of your favourite country song, it’s actually a violation in B.C. the Motor Vehicle Act, and is a ticketable offence.