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Driving with dog on lap would be illegal, Michigan lawmaker proposes

A state lawmaker wants to make it illegal for a motorist to drive with a dog on their lap in Michigan, unless it is for a medical purpose.
(Getty Images)

LANSING, Mich. — With dogged determination, a state lawmaker has again introduced a bill that would make it illegal to drive with a dog on your lap.

The bill, introduced this week by Rep. LaTanya Garrett, mirrors legislation the Detroit Democrat introduced in 2017. It did not advance.

The most recent legislation states that “an individual shall not operate a motor vehicle while a dog is sitting in his or her lap, unless the dog is sitting in his or her lap for a medical purpose under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.’’ 

Doing so would be a civil infraction punishable by a $100 fine for a first violation and a $200 fine for a second or subsequent violation.

Proponents say the measure will keep drivers safe by cutting down on distractions.

Hawaii has already made it illegal to drive with a pet on your lap. Several other states have considered similar measures or passed laws addressing unsafe pet travel.

According to a survey by the American Pet Products Association, 85 million U.S. families own a pet and 37 percent of pet owners travel with their animal every year.

The American Automobile Association recommends that pet owners restrain their pet inside the vehicle not only to avoid distraction, but to protect the animal and other passengers in a crash.

“Each and every time you travel with your dog, just as you put on your seat belt when you hit the road, be sure you do the same for your canine companion,’’ AAA recommends.

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