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Rules of the Road

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.
New Jersey
Rhode Island

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  • Published:
  • Updated: 7/10/2019: 8:42:17 PM ET