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The Rules of the Road

Not every state has clearly defined rules and regulations regarding driving with a pet in the car, but many have recognized that unrestrained pets or pets riding on the laps of drivers can potentially create a hazardous situation for both humans and pets. It’s important to always practice precaution and provide your dog, passengers and fellow drivers with a safe driving experience. If you are planning to travel by car with your pet, it’s important to know the rules of the road.

Below is a brief list of states that currently have or are in the process of reviewing legislation that would regulate the act of driving with a pet. For a more comprehensive list of rules, please contact the DMV of the state(s) in question:

Arizona: Individuals driving through Arizona can be charged for distracted-driving if driving with a pet on their lap.
California: Though the state has not made it explicitly illegal to drive with a dog on your lap, the LAPD has stated that they will issue a citation for individuals who chose to drive with a pet on their lap for operating a vehicle at an unsafe speed. It is their belief that there is no safe speed at which an individual can operate a vehicle with a dog on the drivers lap.
Connecticut: Existing distracted-driving laws enable members of the Connecticut police force to issue a ticket for drivers who are operating a motor vehicle with a pet on their lap. Fines can be as high as $400.
Hawaii: According to Hawaii’s Status, Section 291C-124, operating a motor vehicle with a person, animal or object that may interfere with the drivers ability to successfully operate and control said vehicle. Drivers operating a vehicle under such circumstances can be subject to fines.
Maine: Existing distracted-driving laws prohibit an individual from operating a motor vehicle while engaging in another activity. Other activities can extend to include driving with a pet on your lap.
The following states have reviewed or are reviewing legislation focused on individuals driving with unrestrained pets in their vehicle.
Illinois
New Jersey
Oregon
Tennessee
Rhode Island
Virginia


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