Dog owners can attest that it’s not just a pet; it’s a member of the family. While it may seem strange to those who have never had a four-legged friend, the bond with your dog is something only fellow pet owners understand.
Pet Safety While Driving
So if we expect our family members to wear a seat belt when travelling in a motor vehicle, why should this be any different for the family pet? Just like people, animals need to be buckled up for safety. Having your pet properly restrained can prevent them from escaping, flying forward in your vehicle, or being hurt in a car accident.
Every year countless animals are badly injured or lose their lives because they were not properly restrained in a motor vehicle. Section 72 of the BC Motor Vehicle Act prohibits the transport of an unsecured pet in the back of a pick-up truck. Not only could you receive a fine and ICBC penalty points for this violation, but you could also be charged under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act if your pet is injured. If you’re convicted, you can pay fines of up to $75,000, serve jail time for two years, or both. Add those hefty vet bills, and it’s one very big price to pay for something that is easily preventable.
You have two options to secure your dog. You can either opt for a dog harness/seatbelt, or a dog crate. A dog harness is available in various sizes and should allow your dog to stand, sit, or lay down comfortably without having to brace themselves while the car turns, reverses, or stops.
Protect Your Pet From A Fatal Car Accident
A dog crate must be secured in place by a seatbelt, cargo hooks, or placed by the rear seat to secure it in place. Also, make sure that the crate has been crash-tested so you know it can keep your dog safe in an emergency. ICBC also recommends keeping the windows down for ventilation, especially when placed at the back of your seat.
Pets can be unpredictable. If your dog is used to sitting on your lap on the couch it will probably want to do the same in the car, which puts both you and other drivers at risk. Keeping your pet secured in your vehicle also prevents you from driving while distracted. Distracted driving is the leading cause of car crashes in BC and the third leading cause of fatalities on the road. Fines for distracted driving start at $109 along with ICBC penalty points added to your driving record.
As Vancouver personal injury lawyers, we’ve seen many tragic deaths happen to family pets because of they were not properly secured. So the next time your dog comes along for the ride, buckle them up to keep you and them safe.