Drivers who let their dog go loose in the car, by having them on their lap or in the foot well, are at risk of large fines and invalidated insurance.
A survey carried out by uSwitch found that 69% travelled with their pet in the car and a fifth of these are not securing them properly. A third of drivers had also never heard of Rule 57 of 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.
“A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.”
Breaking the Highway Code doesn’t carry a direct penalty, but drivers could still be pulled over by police for driving without due care and attention. This can result in a maximum fine of £2,500, and up to 9 penalty points. Also, if an unsecured pet has caused an accident with another vehicle, insurers are unlikely to pay out.
Rod Jones, an insurance expert at uSwitch, said: “As a nation of animal lovers, it’s surprising to see so many drivers taking such a relaxed attitude to their pet’s wellbeing, never mind their own safety when behind the wheel.
“As much as we love our pets, remember that securing your furry friend when driving is a requirement in the Highway Code. The last thing you’d want to happen is to suffer an accident and only then find that your insurer may not pay out.”