Police warn against travelling with pets in front seats

WHILE some doting pet owners let their beloved animals sneak into beds and other places inside the home usually reserved for humans, there is one place police are warning where pooches aren't welcome - the driver's area of a car.

While it is rare that a pet has been a major contributing factor to traffic crashes, police are at times inundated with inquiries in relation to pets travelling in vehicles.

Traffic Branch officer in charge Sergeant Marty Arnold said legislation introduced in 2013 now prohibited pets being in the driver's area of the car, for safety reasons.

"Pets, unfortunately, can be unpredictable and interfere with the driver's ability to safely control a vehicle," Sgt Arnold said.

"It is not uncommon to see dogs not only sitting in the driver's lap but from time to time standing upright, resting their front paws on either the steering wheel or driver's side window.

"We have even had cases where the pet had jumped down into the driver's foot well area making it difficult for the driver to brake."

Sgt Arnold said a pet standing or sitting on a driver's lap could interfere with the driver's ability to steer, indicate or even obscure the driver's view.

"It is also dangerous for the pet should a vehicle be involved in a collision - your pet would likely be injured if thrown around the cabin of your vehicle or injured by a deploying air bag," Sgt Arnold said.

"Dogs travelling in the back of vehicles, such as utilities, should also be secured by a leash to prevent them either accidentally falling from the vehicle, or being ejected from the vehicle in the case of a collision."

Sgt Arnold said failing to comply with the legislation could lead to driver's being fined in excess of $200.

Topics:  pets police road safety

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