Pets Distracting Drivers Could get Ticketed

While Fido may love sticking his head out the car window while standing on his driver’s lap, the act could result in a negligent driving case, according to news reports.

It’s not unusual to see Washington drivers be accompanied by their pet while driving, but troopers are reminding pet owners that driving with their pet on their lap or on their vehicle’s dashboard is illegal.

“Because you can’t predict the actions of the animal, it could be a sudden hazard,” a trooper said to news reports. “It’s negligence to have a live animal that could distract the driver.”

While there isn’t a specific Washington state law against driving with pets in the car, certain actions are covered by the second-degree negligent driving law. The same law used to cover texting while driving and cell phone use violations.

The fine for driving with a dog or cat on your lap is $550, according to news reports. If the animal is secured in a carrier and not distracting the driver it will not result in a fine.

As a Seattle personal injury lawyer, I think it’s important for drivers to remember various driving distractions, including animals in vehicles, and avoid them. While a distracting act may not be specifically illegal, it can still be dangerous.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by distracted driving, contact a personal injury lawyer in Seattle.