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Should Dogs Be Allowed On a Driver's Lap?

Rep. Palumbo has again introduced legislation that will prohibit dogs from sitting on the lap of a motor vehicle operator.

Should dogs be allowed on a driver's lap?

One Rhode Island Legislator says the answer is a resounding, no. 

“I know some people think this is frivolous, but I still believe it is a matter of public safety, for humans and animals alike,” said Rep. Peter G. Palumbo (D-Dist. 16, Cranston).

He introduced legislation that would subject violators to an $85 fine for a first offense, $100 for a second and $125 for a third or subsequent offense.

Almost a quarter of drivers that transport dogs allow them to ride on their lap, according to a 2010 survey from AAA.

In addition to the risks it causes other motorists, it could be considered dangerous for the pet. 

The auto club claims an unrestrained 10-pound dog traveling at 50 miles per hour flies forward with 500 pounds of pressure in a crash and an 80-pound dog at only 30 mph packs a 2,400-pound punch.

If enacted into law, Rhode Island would be one of the few states to enforce limitations on pets in the car. 

In New Jersey, under state law, NJSPCA officers can stop a driver they believe is improperly transporting an animal. Tickets range from $250 to $1,000 per offense, and a driver can face a disorderly person's offense under animal-cruelty laws. Hawaii explicitly forbids drivers from holding a pet on their lap. In Arizona, Connecticut and Maine, distracted-driving laws can be used to charge drivers with pets on their laps.

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Judiciary.

What do you think? Do you think it should be illegal for a dog to be on a driver's lap?

Don Medeiros January 26, 2013 at 10:20 AM
Allowing people to drive around with a pet sitting in their lap is certainly a public safety issue and should be addressed. It's not frivolous at all. It is certainly illegal to have your child sitting in your lap while driving, so why should this be treated differently? It is a potential distraction to the driver, just as using ones cell phone, eating, etc. If a distraction isn't bad enough consider that in an accident the air bag deployment will slam the pet into the driver and will likely not survive the impact. This should be a matter of common sense, which unfortunately is in short supply out there on the road.
Amelia Medeiros January 26, 2013 at 03:34 PM
Don you couldn't have said it better! Common sense is definitely in short supply!
Jack Baillargeron January 26, 2013 at 04:18 PM
Would have that the driver likley would not either, not to gross but a few Dog Broken dog ribs into the chest can kill you, not to mention into your neck crushing your throat obviously. Even a fast dog cannot possibly get out of the way of a bag that travels a millisecond to expand.
Former Ports resident January 26, 2013 at 09:40 PM
If your dog can sit on your lap then it's time to get a real dog
craig January 27, 2013 at 06:32 PM
people should get a ticket for having them on ur lap its a hazard.Just like texting or puting on makeup or eating a subway sandwich...

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