States Cracking Down On Dogs Behind The Wheel
by Ross Kenneth Urken | AOL Autos
The Danger For Pets On The Road
If it's any indication of the danger free-roaming pets face in a vehicle, New Hampshire, the country's only state that does not have a mandatory seat belt law, actually requires dogs to buckle up.
Live free or die, goes the state's motto, but Spike and Spot don't have that liberty. And with due reason. Seven other states, Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, Nevada, Washington, Oregon and Rhode Island require owners to kennel or tether animals because of the severe danger the sudden stops and potential collisions pose to pets. An unrestrained dog can land you with a ticket between $50 and $200.
Animal lovers would almost always rather take their pet with them to run errands or on a road trip than leave them at home or at a pet motel. But for all that love for canines, most drivers have seen "dog people" take things too far, driving with their dogs in their laps or lying around their shoulders like a neck pillow and, yes, sometimes at the wheel.
And it's a double dose of danger: for the distracted driver and the unrestrained animal.
"If you make a sudden stop, your dog can be thrown through the windshield," said Loretta Worters, spokesperson for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "He could also be thrown to the floor and interfere with access to gas and brake pedals."
The epidemic is so high that some insurance companies like Progressive and State Farm are offering collision coverage for customers' dogs or cats at no additional premium cost. The insurance will pay up to $1,000 if a customer's dog or cat suffers injury or death.