Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Dog owners warned they could be fined up to £5,000 for breaking little known driving rules

DOG owners have been warned about a car mistake that could set them back £5,000.

Over a third of British drivers who own dogs are unaware of the Highway Code rule, a survey has found.

Dog owners must restrain their pooch while driving


Dog owners must restrain their pooch while drivingCredit: Getty

All dogs must be restrained in a vehicle using a harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard, according to Rule 57 of the Code.

It states: “When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly.”

If a motorist causes an accident because they are distracted by their dog, they could face an eye-watering £5,000 fine for careless driving.

But research by car marketplace Auto Trader has found that 34 per cent of UK drivers who own dogs are not aware of the rule, the Mirror reported.

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Of those claiming to be up-to-date on the Highway Code’s requirements for driving with pets, the poll found only 56 per cent knew the correct rules.

Of the 44 per cent who answered incorrectly, most thought that Rule 57 was either preventing dogs from travelling in the front seat or not allowing pets to stick their head out of the window.

The survey, carried out as part of its Canine Car Report, also found nearly a quarter of drivers with dogs don’t restrain their pooch in a harness or cage.

The researchers worked with Adam Spivey, Director and Master Trainer at Southend Dog Training, for expertise on the best way to restrain pets – to avoid the whopping fines.

Adam said: “We understand the safety regulations of a baby being properly seated in a car; we must understand the same applies to dogs too.

“A crash-tested impact crate is the safest way for any dog to travel – it is something you see the police use with their dogs.

“However, if you can’t do that for any reason then at the very least you must use a very secure seatbelt attachment for your dog.”

Drivers have also been warned not to leave their dogs in freezing cars as temperatures are set to plummet to below zero in the UK this week.


  • The Highway Code recommends using a “seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard” to restrain animals in the car
  • Experts believe using a cage or crate in the boot is the safest way to transport your pet
  • Don’t feed your pet within two hours of starting a long car journey to avoid carsickness
  • Pack a favourite toy or blanket to give your pet a sense of familiarity
  • Use sun shades on the windows when it is hot or the sun is bright and never leave a pet in a hot car
  • Always carry a large water bottle (5 litres minimum) in case your pet overheats and needs to be rapidly cooled in an emergency
  • Don’t allow your pet to ride with its head hanging out of the window, as it’s potentially dangerous and can cause injury

(Source: The Company of Animals)


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