Should you buckle up your best friend while driving in the car?

Written by Sandra Bain

If you conducted a survey and asked people “what is the law on restraining dogs while driving in the car?”, you would get a lot of different responses. The fact is, no one really knows. Different states, territories and even countries, have different laws.And Googling the answer just sends you on a wild goose chase…

While here in QLD, it’s not actually ILLEGAL to drive with your dog in the back seat without a restraint on, provided the dog is sitting or lying happily in its spot. BUT… Police are able to issue demerit points and fines if they feel as though the unrestrained animal is causing the driver to be distracted and not be in full control of the vehicle.






These distractions may include:

 Having the dog on their lap while driving:

- Which will restrict the drivers movement of the wheel and quick use of the pedals in an emergency.
- May entice the driver to take their hands off the wheel to pet the dog whilst driving.

 The dog jumping around in the back:

- This will distract the driver from watching the road.
- The use of the rear-view mirror and having full vision of cars around or behind the vehicle.
- Also, a larger dog may push up against the drivers seat which is not only annoying but dangerously distracting.
- They could very easily jump into the front and hit the drivers arms or body, causing them to steer off course.

 Standing on the passengers seat:

- Easy for the animal to unexpectedly jump over to the drivers side causing a very dangerous distraction.
- The dog may fall forward onto the floor, into the dash or even onto the gear shift.

 Allowing the dog to have its head out the window:

- This can be dangerous to the dog when travelling too close to other vehicles. (Humans are required to keep arms and legs inside the windows, I recommend you do the same for your pets)
- If stopped, dogs may be inclined to jump out the window and run off.
- This may also cause a distraction for other road users as they all slow down to check out the cute doggo with its head out the window.


Dogs & Utes:

Dogs on the back of utes have their own set of rules entirely. The dog MUST BE restrained by a tether to minimise the risk of it falling off or jumping out the tray while the vehicle is in motion, or even while stopped at an intersection.
Be sure to make the tether long enough for the animal to have space to move around but short enough so it cannot jump out.









Let’s put aside the rules and regulations, the should’s and should nots for a moment and think about the safety of your animal.

How much do you love your pet? Its your furbaby, right?

You buckle up your kids, yourself, your passengers and even restrain the load of rubbish in your trailer that you’re taking to the tip (I’ve known people to buckle in a case of beer to the front seat)…why not buckle up your pet too?

Imagine being in a car accident where your dog was either hurt by falling forward, injured by an exploding airbag or worse, flung out of the car through the windscreen.
The idea is just too horrifying to comprehend. Also, if the dogs distraction is the reason for the accident, your insurance policy won't cover you. Keeping your family member safe in a moving vehicle should be the number one priority (whether they like it or not).
Buy a simple seat belt to hook onto their collar, a body harness or if need be, a travelling carrier or cage.

As they say, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.



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