GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - A bill in the state legislator would prohibit drivers from having their dogs in their laps behind the wheel. Violators would have to pay a $100 fine for the first offense, and $200 for all other others.
The bill's sponsor says it's too distracting for someone to drive while a dog is on their lap.
There are three types of distractions when you're driving. The first is visual, anything that takes your eyes off the road. Second is manual, anything that takes your hands off the wheel and finally cognitive, taking your mind off of driving.
It's already illegal to text and drive. It's also considered a distraction to be eating, putting on make-up or looking at your maps. But as of now, driving with your dog on your lap, isn't technically considered a distraction.
"Dogs fall into that category just like anything else," Veterinarian Dr. Amanda Conkling said.
Conkling sees dogs with injuries resulting from sitting in the drivers seat.
"You imagine the force in any type of head on collision, if that dog is between the wheel and the owner, they're going to get crushed and they're going to get hurt," Conkling said.
Which is why she calls it, a no brainer.
"Put your cell phone down, put your dog securely in their own seat, and then you're doing your service to keep everyone safe, not only your self, your pet but everyone else on the road," Conkling said.
There are seat belts and harnesses specifically made for your dog to sit safely and comfortably in the backseat. The representative's bill prohibiting dogs on the laps of drivers is now in committee.
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