UK drivers warned they can be hit with £5,000 fine for commons mistake when travelling with pets

Motorists are being urged to take the correct precautions or face a hefty fine

Published

Drivers are being urged to take the correct precautions when travelling with dogs - or be prepared to face a fine of up to £5,000.

Many motorists may allow their pooch to sit on the front seat without any restraint, but experts are warning this could leave pet owners out of pocket.

In laws in place in the Highway Code, dogs must be restrained with either a seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard. This is to prevent distracting the driver or causing injuries to anyone in the vehicle.

If not properly restrained, even an airbag could cause serious injury.

Those who breach the rule are said to be driving carelessly, leading to a three to nine point penalty on their license, and a fine of £1,000 – going up to £5,000 if taken to court.

Quotezone CEO and Founder Greg Wilson said: "In addition to avoiding financial penalties, it's critical to know the rules of the road in order to keep everyone safe.

"Although many motorists perceive nothing wrong with letting their four-legged companions roam freely inside the vehicle and stick their heads out the window, doing so can actually endanger the pup's life.

"Every pet owner must make sure their pup is well looked after and restrained appropriately when traveling in a car, obeying the rules of the Highway Code, or risk invalidating both their car and pet insurance – leaving them unprotected should they need to make a claim."

The rule in the Highway Code states: “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.

“A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.”

Pet owners also need to be wary of other rules around leaving their dog in the car.

Whilst there is no specific law in place to stop owners leaving dogs in a hot car, it the animal’s welfare is the legal responsibility of the owner.

If a dog falls ill or dies due to the heat in the car, the owner may be prosecuted.