Drivers risk £5,000 fine for not strapping dogs into car yet half of owners don’t

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Motorists could be fined up to £5,000 if their four-legged passengers aren’t abiding by the rules of the road. According to the Highway Code, dogs need to be kept safely secured to avoid distracting the driver and potentially leading to a crash.

A new study has revealed that half of dog owners aren’t transporting their pooches correctly and face being slammed with a huge bill. The research by Skoda and BorrowMyDoggy found only 51 percent of drivers restrain their dog in the car; while another 14 percent admit to doing it sometimes, and one in 10 never have.

As well as leading to a fine, illegally transporting a dog can also invalidate insurance and leave motorists having to pay for any damage caused.

The rules state: “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.

“Animals being herded: These should be kept under control at all times. You should, if possible, send another person along the road in front to warn other road users, especially at a bend or the brow of a hill.

“It is safer not to move animals after dark, but if you do, then wear reflective clothing and ensure that lights are carried (white at the front and red at the rear of the herd).”

The research also revealed that 12 percent of owners let their dog sit on their lap in the car and nine percent even let them sit on the dashboard.

In total, 68 percent said they drove more carefully with their dog in the car, though nearly a quarter said they found themselves more stressed with their pet travelling beside them.

Skoda’s top tips for travelling with your dog include:
Make sure your dog is on a lead when getting in and out of a car
Use a harness or in-car carrier to securely fasten your dog in the car
Keep toys, food and water on-hand for the car journey
Ensure you take regular breaks for fresh air and to burn off steam
Blankets and dog beds can help to keep a dog calm and relaxed
Don’t ever leave your dog in the car on a warm day