Could Man’s Best Friend cause you to be Disqualified from Driving?

Whilst we are undoubtedly a country of animal lovers, it may surprise you to learn that the answer to the above question is yes! A large percentage of motorists enjoy bringing their dog along as a travel companion, from a short trip to the shop to a weekend away. During these trips, many motorists will have their companion rest on their knees or perhaps have some fresh air from an open window.  However, a lot of motorists don’t realise that, much like human beings, pets also need to be correctly retrained whilst in your vehicle. 

 This is pursuant to Rule 57 of the Highway Code which states ‘When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably retrained so they cannot distract you whilst you are driving or injure you or themselves; if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars ’.

This rule is in place to not only protect the animal but also the damage it could cause to other passengers within the car. Animals can also act as a distraction to both the driver of the vehicle and other road users. 

A new study found 64% of motorists in the UK, were unaware that driving without correctly restraining their animals could result in a penalty. In addition to this, less than half of pet owners were aware that driving without correctly restraining their animal, could completely invalidate their motor insurance policy, leaving them vulnerable should the worst happen. 

If you are found to be driving your vehicle with an unrestrained animal, you could be subject to an instant fine – even if you were unaware of this rule. The punishment varies from case to case but can include:

  • Up to £5000 instant fine
  • Up to 9 penalty point endorsement 
  • Driving Disqualification 

In light of the above and for the safety of both you and your beloved pet, it’s best to always ensure animals are correctly restrained. 

If you have been found to have been driving contrary to Rule 57, please give one of our expert motoring experts a call on 0330 912 2124.

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