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Did you know there is a legal requirement to restrain your dog in the car?

View profile for Olivia Peck
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Research shows that over a third of drivers fail to restrain pet passengers, with 1 in 10 allowing  pets to sit in the front seat of the car, and a further 9% of drivers, allowing their pet to sit on the back seat without a harness or seatbelt equipment.

The research, carried out by, shows that over 60% of drivers are unaware that having an unrestrained pet passenger is punishable with a fine. Should you fail to restrain your pet whilst driving you could be committing an offence of driving without proper control of a motor vehicle or driving without due care and attention.

Whilst we are in lockdown and everyone is venturing out on their daily dog walk, it is important that we know the law and the consequences of driving with your pet in the vehicle.

Rule 58 of the Highway Code deals with travelling with pets and 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.”

Even though there may not be a direct penalty for driving with an unrestrained pet, motorists could face charges of driving without due care and attention if they get distracted by their animals behind the wheel.

A charge of this nature could come with a fine of £1,000 and penalty points, if the case goes to court drivers could face fines of up to £5,000 and nine penalty points on their licence.

The Highway Code recommends drivers use seatbelt harnesses, pet carriers, dog cages or dog guards as ways of restraining animals in vehicles.

Johnson Astills are experts in all types of Road Traffic offences, and are able to assist 24 hours of the day whether at the police station or at Court. If you need advice or representation from Johnson Astills , please contact us at or telephone us on 0116 255 4855.

To discuss any offences please contact our Criminal Defence Team at Johnson Astills at our Leicester or Loughborough offices.