Of all the possible distractions drivers face – music, phones, texting, eating, grooming, unruly passengers – a Rhode Island legislator wants to add four-legged passengers to the list, reported the Wall Street Journal.
Rhode Island State Rep. Peter Palumbo has unleashed a plan to prohibit drivers from allowing their dogs to ride on the driver’s lap. Palumbo’s bill would fine offenders $125.
Palumbo maintains that lap dogs not only distract the driver, but allowing Fido to ride shotgun puts the dog in danger in the event of a crash.
To protect dogs, AAA encourages dog owners to use a restraint system, a special harness specifically for dogs riding in cars. AAA and Kurgo, a pet travel gear company released a survey last year that revealed:
- 56% of survey respondents had a dog in the car at least once a month.
- 52% said they pet their dog while driving
- 29% said their dogs were distracting during driving
- 84% of drivers did not restrain their dogs while driving
Rhode Island is not the first state to attempt to heel canine passengers. California, Maryland and Pennsylvania have introduced legislation to prohibit dogs riding in the driver’s seat, but none were successful.
-Follow Elise Rambaud Marrion, @emarrion_cmn.