Updated on: 4/12/2022
Many people drive with animals on their laps. But is this considered distracted driving and can you be ticketed for it?
It’s not unusual to be driving down the road and see someone’s small dog sticking their head out the driver’s side windows. However, in Washington State, it IS illegal to drive with your pet on your lap or on the vehicle’s dashboard.
“Because you can’t predict the actions of the animal, it could be a sudden hazard,” a Washington State trooper said regarding this issue. “It’s negligence to have a live animal that could distract the driver.”
In Washington State, it is not specifically illegal to just have your pet in the car, but certain actions are covered by the second-degree negligent driving law – the same law that covers texting while driving. If a pet is in a carrier, or otherwise restrained, there is no threat to the driver and is thus permitted.
According to news reports, the fine for driving with a dog or cat on your lap is $550.
If you have been in an accident caused by the negligence of another driver, contact Seattle personal injury attorney Chris Davis at Davis Law Group, P.S., for a free consultation. Call (206) 727-4000, use the chat feature below or the contact form on this page.