Half of dog owners break highway code in cars

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A large number of dog owners risk substantial fines and penalty points by allowing their pets to roam freely in a vehicle whilst in transit, new research has shown.

An independent survey conducted by bootliner manufacturer Hatchbag revealed that 45 per cent of dog owners were in breach of Section 57 of the Highway Code by neglecting to contain their pet with a suitable crate, harness or guard while travelling in a vehicle.

Unrestrained pets can cause considerable distraction, putting motorists at risk of driving without due care and attention — an offence that will invalidate most insurance policies. In addition, drivers face fines of up to £2,500, plus nine penalty points.

The most popular way of containing a dog in transit is with a ‘dog guard, favoured by 29 per cent of those surveyed, which keeps a dog restricted to the boot space.

Around 24 per cent use harnesses to secure their dog to the seat, while 13 per cent opt for a dog crate - two options popular with pet care professionals.

Gemma Harrison, of ‘Walkies with Marley,’ said: “Personally, I would advise using a crate, especially for giddy dogs, or if not possible, a doggy seatbelt.”