Don’t be out of pocket by letting your pet drive you to distraction

THEY say that dogs are man’s best friend. But if you are involved in a road traffic accident, they could prove to be your worst enemy.

Because driving with an unrestrained pet can invalidate car insurance polices – meaning motorists are left to pay out personally for repairs in the event of a claim.

This is no shaggy dog story – but the law.

And according to Milners’ Senior Litigation Executive, Dylan Gorman, many people are unaware of the regulations when they get behind the wheel.

Allowing pets to hang their heads out of windows, or letting them ride without a seat belt, is illegal.
Rule 57 of the Highway Code stipulates: “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.”
It goes on to say: “A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.”
The warning comes after research highlighted that one-in-10 motorists have either had an accident while driving with a pet, or know somebody who has.
Dylan said: “Highway Code breaches do not mean direct penalties.
“However, police may pull drivers over and fine then £1,000 for not driving with proper control if motorists are distracted.
“And failing without due care and attention carries a maximum fine of £5,000.
“It could also mean nine penalty points or a driving ban with compulsory re-testing.
“And be warned – any accident will likely leave an insurer unwilling to pay out.”
The research – featured in the Daily Mail – said one motorist reported that his dog had jumped out of the window when the car stopped at traffic lights.
Another reported that they were fined when their canine climbed into the front of the vehicle.
Cats have also been known to introduce an element of danger – with one motorist saying their pet nestled in the footwell by pedals after breaking free from its box.
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