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Drivers could face fines of £5k for having their pets in the car

Dog sticking head out of car

A recent survey by USwitch revealed that 69% of drivers travel take their pets on car journeys with them. And it’s not just dogs and cats, apparently, us Brits have been known to take our hamsters and spiders along for the ride too.

Many people don’t realise that this is against the Highway Code, which 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”.

While breaking the Highway Code doesn’t carry a direct penalty itself, you could be given a £100 fine and 3 penalty points on the spot if found to be distracted while driving. This can escalate to £5,000 if you fail to pay and the case ends up in court. In addition to this, if you are deemed to be driving ‘without due care and attention’, the fine can be as much as £2,500 and you’ll be given a hefty 9 penalty points too. In extreme cases, a compulsory ban and re-test could occur.

Dog sitting in front seat of car

As well as fines and penalty points, driving without your pet properly restrained could invalidate your insurance if you were to have an accident. You should also make sure that you have comprehensive pet insurance in case your pet is injured in a car accident, as this is unlikely to be covered under your car insurance.

On a similar note, keeping your pet restrained using a seat belt harness, dog cage or pet carrier whilst in the car is in the best interest of everyone when travelling. It eliminates the potential of you becoming distracted, it reduces the likelihood of an accident occurring and will prevent your pet from getting injured if an accident or sudden stop did occur.

For further advice on travelling in a car with your pet, visit The Dog’s Trust website