Is Driving With a Dog in Your Lap Dangerous?

Proposed legislation in Rhode Island could make driving with a dog on your lap illegal. The reason for creating the bill is potential vehicle accidents caused by distracted drivers. The bill was submitted to the General Assembly by Rep. Peter G. Palumbo, a Democrat from Cranston, after one of his constituents recounted the story of an accident that was almost caused when a driver was operating a vehicle with a dog sharing the driver’s seat.

The bill poses penalties of $85 for a first offense, $100 for the second and $125 for subsequent offenses. One might imagine voters to have a negative reaction to such a bill; however, a readers poll reportedly showed 70 percent of that group supported it. The size of the poll was not indicated. A number of user comments on the Providence Journal article about the bill were mocking it.

Distracted driving is far from a laughing matter, because thousands of people are killed each year simply from inattentiveness. In 2009, over 5,000 Americans were killed in accidents caused by distracted driving.

Driver distractions are typically texting, talking on a cell phone, eating, drinking, applying makeup and so forth. Driving with a dog on one’s lap hasn’t been listed as one of the more common distractions, but it shouldn’t be much of an inconvenience to keep a dog in a seat separate from the driver.

Image Credit: Guardian-X

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Jo S.
Jo S2 years ago

Thank you.

a             y m.
g d c5 years ago

dangerous for dog or pet as well...

katarzyna phillips

driving with a mobile phone will get you at least 3 points on your license in this country-uk. distracting behaviour can cause a caution, fine or even points to be added to your license if caught. if a dog on your lap sees something and decides it wants to go crazy from seeing it, what chance do you think you have holding the steering wheel of your vehicle driving at maximum speed of the road? good luck you a$$hole! it's dangerous not only for yourself and your dog, but other road users, be they in a vehicle or the pavement you've just mounted and mowed a bunch of people down. Do you think you could live with yourself knowing you caused several deaths to your stupid dog being on your lap? mine is safely in his crate so if an accident does happen, i know he's safe. that's sensible dog ownership. and sensible driving. anything else and you should consider why you're driving in the first place. or owning a dog

Lois M.
Lois M5 years ago

Anything that is a distraction for a driver is illegal in Canada. People drive with dogs on their lap all the time...they think it is so cute. Little do they realize that the slightest bump can set off their airbag and that cute little dog is a dead dog! It infuriates me every time I see it. I have gone so far as to leave a message stating just that on their windshields, but they never learn. They are abusing their pets!!

Magdalen B.
Magdalen B5 years ago

Of course it's bloody dangerous! Everyone should know that in these enlightened and educated times.

Diane L.
Diane L5 years ago

I wish the idiots who would consider this could read the story on my local news about the woman who just was killed down on the highway here along with her Chihuahua who was in her LAP as she was driving! She and the dog died,and the woman and her teenage daughter she hit HEAD ON when she crossed the center line went to the hospital in critical condition. The cops think the dog "distracted" her. I guess that's a great deduction for such skilled members of law enforcement.

Terry V.
Terry V5 years ago

Is this a STUPID question?!?!?

a             y m.
g d c5 years ago

duh - anything that distracts a driver should be a given ...

Dale Overall

One should not have a dog, cat or anything in your lap while driving-yes if the air bags deploy say good bye to Fido, Kitty or gold fish. (Gold fish you say, well one never knows with some people...)
Activities that require attention such as shaving, putting on make up, reading a paper are also dangerous.

One can drink coffee without averting the eyes off the road but if a deer runs in front of you - there are times when both hands are required on the wheel.

People have to be careful while driving and something that is living on your lap can react to something unexpectedly if startled-and if you are male you do not want any claws suddenly digging in while driving be they canine or feline or ferret...

Mitchell D.
Mitchell D6 years ago

One of my "pet" peeves.