Driving with Your Dogs in the Car could Lead to Trouble, Study Says

A UK Study conducted by national car leasing firm All Car Leasing called ‘Homeward Hound’ has suggested that driving with your dog in the car can potentially leave you with points on your license as well as an expensive fine, but how could this be?

It has been found that by leaving your dog unrestrained in the vehicle and being distracted by them can be classified as ‘undue care and attention’, which is a punishable driving offence and carries a maximum penalty of a whopping £2500 and 9 points on your license; leaving a huge dent in your pocket and close to losing your license, so you have to ask yourselves… ‘how can I avoid this?’

From their research of 1,216 respondents, All Car Leasing found that most dog owners were likely to either put their dog in the boot with a fitted mesh guard, or use a clip in harness to make sure that the dog would avoid jumping around the car and especially in the front seats; as this could result in a bad crash. Of course, not every vehicle will come fitted with a mesh guard, as it is usually a paid accessory, but it is important to make sure that your dog has enough space and is happy in the vehicle, all whilst avoiding a driving offence and an expensive charge.        

From All Car Leasing’s survey, they found that 21% of their respondents simply wouldn't take their dog into the car for a variety of different reasons. One of the main reasons was due to pet hair sticking to seats and then transferring onto clothes, which resulted in 36% of respondents agreeing this was the main reason, and 28% said that it was due to the foul smell dogs left in the car. The remaining 36% said they wouldn’t due to lack of space, worries about the safety of their dog, or their seats being ripped by their claws.

Of the respondents who did let their dog in the car, All Car Leasing wanted to find out as to where they put their dog whilst driving, taking into consideration the dogs size.

After finding out whether they had a small, medium or large sized dog, they received some interesting results.

69% of toy/small sized dog owners surveyed would simply put them unrestrained in the front passenger seat/footwell for pure ease. This is surprising as the dog can freely climb about the car and onto the driver's seat at any point whilst driving, so be careful when coming to do so as this could land you with a penalty.

Medium sized dog owners responded and 57% agreed that their dogs would be forced onto the rear passenger seats; and large dogs were most likely kept in the boot (78%). From the findings, it can be noted that ‘The majority of small dogs join their owners in the front passenger seat, whereas larger dogs are mostly confined to the rear passenger seats or the boot’.

Ross Wild, Marketing Assistant at ACL said “I was surprised to find that so many people would simply leave their dog unrestrained not only because of driving regulations, but the dogs safety as well.”

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Isabella Donnelly

    Isabella Donnelly

    An Australian Registered Veterinary Surgeon and Practitioner, Isabella Donnelly earned her Bachelor of Animal Science at Adelaide University before going on to study Veterinary Medicine at Melbourne University, from which she graduated in 2017. She has collaborated on honours and PhD projects, and she is working to complete a publication for the Veterinary and Agricultural Faculty of the University of Melbourne.

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