DENVER (KDVR) — It’s adorable to watch your dog look out the driver’s seat window as they rest comfortably on your lap, but it’s more dangerous for both you and the dog.
Keeping your dog in the backseat while you drive even though they’d prefer your lap isn’t a form of unusual punishment, it’s actually safer. There’s no specific law prohibiting your furry friend from sitting on your lap, but there can be consequences if your furbaby becomes a distraction.
“There’s really no law that restricts a dog to a certain part of the vehicle. With that said though, if somebody rides with a dog, or really any kind of animal on their lap, and it causes them to violate some other traffic law, that’s when it’s a problem,” said Colorado State Patrol Public Information Officer Sgt. Troy Kessler. “It typically becomes careless driving because you’re not driving with regard, you’re allowing your focus, which should be on the road, to be taken away from that responsibility.”
If you cause an accident because your pet distracted you, based on the officer, it could be cause for careless or reckless driving.
It’s also dangerous for your pet. Kessler recalled many accidents where unsecured animals were ejected from the vehicle when a crash occurred. Some ran away after the accident.
Police officers are a part of the dog-loving community — many partner with K-9s that ride with the officer. For both their safety, the dog rides in the back in a cage.
Kessler said the safest spot is in the backseat. He recommends dog harnesses with a leash that buckles into the seat. He suggests keeping animals anywhere away from where they could distract you.