Do you take your dog out in the car with you? Is the dog unrestrained? Did you know that this could mean that you are in breach of The Highway Code & could be prosecuted for careless driving? I thought not!

If you own a dog you need to be familiar with the provisions of The Highway Code that govern transporting your dog by car.

According to The Highway Code, drivers need to ensure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot cause any potentially deadly distractions while you drive.

Rule 57 of 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 have to stop quickly."

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

Although breaking The Highway Code might not result in a direct penalty, you could still be pulled over for driving without due care and attention - which carries a maximum fine of £2,500 as well as a total of up to nine penalty points on your licence.

Drivers could even face a compulsory driving ban and, in certain circumstances, be forced to retake their test.

As well as points and a fine for not properly restraining your pets, if an accident is caused, your insurance could be voided by this breach of The Highway Code.

A lot of media coverage was given to the recent change in the sanctions the courts impose if you are caught using a hand held device while driving – you are now at risk of 6 Points if convicted of that offence. Police are also now more frequently charging drivers with an alternative offence of “not being control of the vehicle” where they have insufficient evidence to prove the device was being used. Now you need also to be aware that if you have an unrestrained dog in the car while you are driving you could be charged with driving without due care and attention which could result in your licence being endorsed with up to nine points.

A conviction for careless driving could see you reach or, get close to 12 points when, in the absence of a successful exceptional hardship argument, you would be at risk of a six-month driving ban.

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Frank Rogers

Frank Rogers , Partner, Head of Business Development & Head of Just Motor Law

As Head of Just Motor Law, a specialist division of Kirwans, Frank represents individuals and companies facing prosecution for driving offences throughout England & Wales.

As an expert in motoring offences and road traffic law, Frank advises on technical defences and legal loopholes to present robust and effective legal arguments to the Court to keep his clients driving, while also avoiding or minimising any period of disqualification. 

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