Pet Lifestyle

Does Your Dog Need A Seat Belt in Your State?

Our dog loves a good car ride on a sunny day and we totally get the appeal. Music blasting, windows down, a fresh breeze blowing through your hair — it’s hard not to enjoy yourself. We want you and your pup to love being on the road just as much as we do. We also want you to be safe and compliant with the driving laws.

While most states have no specific laws in regards to how you drive with your pet, a few states have some rules that can result in a fine. That’s why we’ve put together the rules of buckling up for each state so you can stay in the know.

*Disclaimer: The information below is for general information purposes only. You should not rely upon the material or information as a basis for making any business, legal or any other decision.

Alabama

Alabama recognizes animal anti-cruelty laws which means unsecured pets in moving vehicles can be considered transporting animals in a cruel manner or in a way that puts the pet in danger. It’s up to the discretion of the legal authority whether they consider it a violation or not.

Arizona

Unrestrained pets that are in the driver’s lap, interfering with the driver’s ability to maintain control of the vehicle, or obstructing the driver’s view can result in a violation under distracted driving laws.

Arkansas

In Arkansas, pets may travel in the bed of truck however it is considered a misdemeanor for driver to transport an animal in a cruel or inhuman way. A conviction could result in fines up to $1,000, jail time and even a psychiatric evaluation requirement.

California

There are no laws for driving with pets inside the passenger compartment. However, if the pet is in an open truck bed, they must be restrained in a secure container or cage. This rule does not apply to dogs being transported for ranching or farming in rural areas.

Connecticut

Connecticut drivers can be charged under distracted driving laws if a pet is in their lap while the vehicle is moving, interfering with the driver’s ability to maintain control of the vehicle, or obstructing the driver’s view. Also, if a pet is being transported in the bed of a truck, they must be tethered or restrained in a cage or crate that prevents the pet from jumping out.

Hawaii

Drivers can be fined if they are holding a pet in their lap while the vehicle is moving. They can also be fined if the animal interferes with their ability to maintain control of the vehicle or is obstructing the driver’s view.

Iowa

Drivers in Iowa may be fined under distracted driving legislation –unrestrained pets in the driver’s lap, interfering with the driver’s ability to maintain control of the vehicle, or obstructing the driver’s view can result in a violation.

Maine

Like the other states, Maine has no explicit law that requires dogs to wear a seat belt or be restrained in a car. However, drivers can be charged under distracted-driving laws if your pet is in your lap. There is a law in which dogs must be protected in a manner that prevents the dog from being thrown out of a vehicle if they are being transported in an open portion of the vehicle such as a bed of a truck. In this case, the pet must be tethered or restrained in a cage or crate.

Massachusetts

In Massachusetts there is no specific law requiring dogs to be in a seat belt but if unrestrained or on your lap while driving if can fall under a law that enforces nothing interfere and impede on the operation of the vehicle. If a pet is being transported in an open bed of a truck, they must be either restrained or in cage so they cannot be thrown from the vehicle. Finally, according to the animal anti-cruelty laws, transporting any live animal in an unnecessarily cruel manner or in a way that puts the pet in danger could result in a fine or jail time. It’s up to the discretion of the legal authority whether they consider it a violation or not.

Mississippi

In Mississippi, transporting animals in a cruel manner or in a way that puts the pet in danger is a misdemeanor.

Minnesota

There is no law that explicitly requires dogs to be restrained within the vehicle however in an open bed of a truck if your dog is not properly restrained the driver can be charged with a misdemeanor.

New Hampshire

There is no law that pertains to your pet being restrained in the vehicle but dogs being transported in the open bed of a trunk must be restrained properly.

New Jersey: State Pet Restraint Law

New Jersey is one of the few states that has a flat-out seat belt law. Pets in moving vehicles must be secured in a carrier or wear a seat belt.

Violation: Fines up to $1,000.

North Dakota

In North Dakota there is no specific language that pertains to your pet being required to wear a seat belt but transporting any live animal without suitable carrying containers constitutes as cruelty to animals

Ohio

In Ohio, it is illegal to transport or confine animals in a cruel manner.

Oregon

In Oregon, pets being transported in an open truck bed must be tethered or restrained in a cage or crate.

Rhode Island: State Pet Restraint Law

Rhode Island is the only other state that has a law requiring pets to be restrained by a carrier, cage, seat belt, or physical control of a person other than the driver in a moving vehicle.

Violation: Fines up to $200.

South Carolina

In South Carolina, unrestrained pets in the driver’s lap, interfering with the driver’s ability to maintain control of the vehicle, or obstructing the driver’s view can result in a violation should the legal authorities deem it unsafe.

Tennessee

In Tennessee, it is illegal to transport or confine animals in a cruel manner.

Texas

Texas is another state that recognizes the animal anti-cruelty laws. It is an offense to transport or confine animals in a cruel manner.

Utah

In Utah, it is illegal to transport or confine animals in a cruel manner.

Vermont

In Vermont, animal transportation rules prohibit transporting or confining animals in a cruel manner.

Virginia

Virginia recognizes both the distracted driver laws and the animal anti-cruelty laws. First, unrestrained pets in the driver’s lap, interfering with the driver’s ability to maintain control of the vehicle, or obstructing the driver’s view can result in a violation. Second, owners must provide adequate care for pets during transportation.

Washington

While it may not be enough to warrant a traffic stop, unrestrained pets distracting the driver could result in a violation. On the other hand, transporting animals in a cruel manner or in a way that puts the animal in danger is considered a misdemeanor.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin also recognizes distracted driving laws. If a pet is in your lap and interfering with your ability to pay attention while driving, you could be hit with a violation. It also is illegal to transport animals in a cruel manner.

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