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Could “Man’s Best Friend” be your driving enemy?

June 21, 2019 by in category Careless Driving, News with 0 and 0
Home > News > Careless Driving > Could “Man’s Best Friend” be your driving enemy?

Yes, you read that right! Your beloved pet could see you in serious legal “doo doo.” The pet market in the United Kingdom is one of the largest in Europe, with 45 percent of people claiming to own any pet in their house. So if you are one of the 45% this warning is for you, especially if you take your beloved pet for a drive in your car. If your furry friend is not strapped down safely, you could be at risk of being prosecuted for driving without due care and attention.

Driving Without Due Care/Careless Driving

Driving without due care and attention, also referred to as Careless Driving is defined within the Road Traffic Act 1988 under Section 3. The broad definition of the offence of driving without due care and attention is when an individual’s standard of driving falls below that of a competent and careful driver.

The Highway Code

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.”The Highway Code

Breaking the Highway Code is not in itself an offence but the courts often treat evidence of a breach of the Highway Code as sufficient proof that the driving has fallen below that of a competent and careful driver to meet the criteria of the careless driving offence.

If convicted of careless driving, you could be liable for between 3-9 penalty points and an unlimited fine linked to the offender’s income. However, for less serious circumstances, the offence can be dealt with by way of a fixed penalty and a low level fine instead of a court attendance.

Insurance Problems

The headache may not end there, however, as if an unrestrained pet is found in your car after an accident, insurers are likely to refuse to pay out!

Our Top 5 Tips for driving with pets in the car (for your safety and theirs)

Our Top 5 Tips for driving with pets in the car (for your safety and theirs)
1. As cute as they may look when riding with their heads out of the window, it’s potentially dangerous and can cause injury. Therefore a suitable restraint is advised.
2. A restraint is also important to ensure your dog does not leap into the front seat if it sees a cat, for example.
3. This one is advisable with pets and babies! Don’t feed them immediately before starting a long car journey if you want to avoid carsickness.
4. Be mindful of the effects of the sun even in mild weather and use sun shades on the windows. Never leave a pet in a hot car.
5. Be prepared and have plenty of water with you in case your pet overheats and needs to be rapidly cooled in an emergency.

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