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Dogs Distracting Drivers

Could you get a ticket for petting your dog while driving?  It could be a possibility if the Florida Legislature gets their way. 

Don’t do this.

A new bill has been introduced in the Florida Senate that takes aim at distracted drivers- and it goes way further than banning texting while driving.  

While we applaud the Legislature for finally addressing texting while driving (we’re one of a handful of states where it’s still only a secondary offense)- we are concerned about the vague language of the law when it applies to pets.

Here is how the bill defines ‘Driving while distracted’

“Driving while distracted” means the inattentive operation of a motor vehicle. Inattentive or distracted driving conduct includes reading, writing, performing personal grooming, applying a beauty aid or similar products, interacting with pets or unsecured cargo, using a personal wireless communications device, or engaging in any other activity, conduct, task, or action that causes distraction.

We’re not sure what “interacting with pets” means. The term is a little too loose or ambiguous for our taste. We hope that, if passed, this term will be a little better defined.  We’re all for safety, but don’t want someone to be given a ticket just because the law isn’t properly written.

Safety in the car for your pet

If you’re taking your pet in the car- you should always have them restrained- whether it is in an appropriate sized carrier or with a harness that prevents them from getting into the front seat. The front seat is no place for your pet. Period.

Airbags can kill your pet

All new cars have airbags- starting in 1996. In the event of a crash, a pet sitting in the front seat could be seriously injured or killed by the force of an airbag.  Even if the airbag doesn’t deploy (if it’s a smaller dog not detected by the safety system)- your pet could go into the dashboard or windshield with horrible consequences.

A 2011 survey by AAA shows some alarming statistics about how we interact with our pets while we’re driving. Almost 17% of those surveyed said that they let their pet sit in their lap while driving. Don’t do this. Read the part about airbags again if your pet sits on your lap while you drive. For more interesting statistics about driving with your pets, read the full article here: https://newsroom.aaa.com/2011/07/2011-kurgo-pet-surve/

For more information on traveling with your pet, check out my blog about traveling with your pets here.

Happy and Safe Travels!

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