Figures obtained by RAA from the South Australia Police revealed that 411 South Australians were caught driving with a pet on their lap during the past three years, prompting the auto insurer to remind drivers that the practice is not only illegal, it also poses a serious road-safety risk.
“Many people don’t realise they’re not allowed to drive with their beloved pet dog or cat sitting on their lap,” said Graeme O’Dea, RAA motoring road rules consultant. “There’s no official requirement to restrain your pets in a motor vehicle; however, there is a rule which says you can’t drive if a person or animal is on your lap. If you get caught, you can expect a fine of $184, plus the $60 Victims of Crime Levy.”
O’Dea said that while it is legal for passengers to carry a pet on their lap, it is best that they secure their furry friend in the vehicle before they start any journey, to ensure the safety of themselves, their pets, and other road users.
“It’s very easy to be distracted or knocked by an unrestrained dog or cat while you’re driving, which could result in a serious accident for you and your loved ones,” O’Dea said. “And if you do crash, or even brake suddenly at any stage, your unrestrained pet could be thrown around the vehicle and be seriously injured or killed. Similarly, your unrestrained pet could become a dangerous projectile within the vehicle and put the safety and lives of everyone else in the car at risk.”