Motorists warned driving with your dog in the car could land you hefty £5k fine

Motorists in the UK could be breaking the law without even realising when they’re travelling with their pets.

Many could land themselves into hot water if they don’t understand the rules with animals in the car.

According to the Highway Code, not buckling your cat, dog or other pet is in breach of the rules.

While the rules don’t say where animals can be placed, drivers are warned to avoid having them in the front seats.

Mark Tongue, at Select Car Leasing, said: “Most dog owners will know they need to keep their pet restrained when they’re in a car.

“But many owners are left confused as to whether dogs are allowed in the front seat or not. It’s something of a grey area.”

It’s important to have your furry friend restrained so they don’t distract you
(Image: Getty Images)

He added: “While not particularly recommended – dogs should generally be in the backseat or boot for their own safety.

“You should only ever have your dog by your side while driving if you’re able, and know how, to disable the front passenger airbag.

“Failing to disable the airbag could result in catastrophic injuries for a dog.

“An airbag is designed to provide protection for a human, not a canine, and the cushioning is simply in the wrong place.”

If your pet obstructs your vision while you’re travelling you could risk a fine of up to £5,000 for “careless driving”.

Make sure you read your policy to see if you have the correct level of cover for your needs.

Mark adds that if you’re considering on having your dog at the front, make sure to move the seat as far back as it will go.

He explained: “We’d recommend you don’t let your dog stick its head out of the window.”

Driving with a dog next to you
You could land yourself a hefty fine if you don’t follow the rules
(Image: Getty Images/Westend61)

The expert continued: “Make no mistake – if you don’t have your dog properly restrained, you could be prosecuted by the law.”

According to the Highway Code, unrestrained pets could cause accidents, near misses or emergency stops.

If you’re distracted on the road, you can be fined £1,000 on the spot for “careless driving”.

This carries a maximum fine of £5,000 and nine penalty points depending on the severity of it.

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