More than a third of drivers do not plan to properly restrain their pets while driving with them this summer, research by Confused.com has revealed.
One in four (24%) drivers will be taking their pets on “staycation”, but more than a third (37%) of these have no plans to restrain them properly. 10% of surveyed drivers plan to leave their pet in the boot without a guard, while 27% plan to let their pet loose around the car. Some drivers admitted to letting their animals looks on the backseat, in the footwell or even on their laps.
Driving with an unrestrained animal is not illegal but doing so could result in becoming distracted and driving dangerously. Because of this, 18% of drivers have received a fine or points on their licence for driving while their pet was loose in the car. Motorists could receive a £100 fine with three penalty points for driving without due care and attention, but in serious cases this could increase to a £2,500 fine and a driving ban, especially if their actions put other road users at risk.
14% of drivers have admitted their pet caused an accident or near-miss while loose in the car, which should be warning in itself that animals need to be restrained while on the move.
Not only is it dangerous to drive with an unrestrained pet, but it could also invalidate your insurance if this is the cause of an accident – a fact that over a third (35%) of drivers are unaware of. In fact, there is some confusion around the entire issue, as 19% of drivers admitted to not knowing what the law is when it comes to keeping animals restrained in the car.
Pets also pose a risk to themselves when unrestrained, so the best course of action for any driver is to use a specialist seatbelt, a secure cage or carrier, or a boot guard to separate pets from passengers – and most importantly, the driver.
Keeping pets restrained isn’t the only consideration when travelling with them. When the weather is hot, it’s important to keep pets cool. However, 9% of motorists going away this summer said they didn’t plan to stop for any comfort breaks on their trip.
With the travel industry still reeling from the effects of the pandemic and international travel fraught with uncertainty, many people will be planning to travel within the UK this summer. Pets are a much-loved part of the family so it’s natural to want to take them on a road trip, but it’s essential that pets are transported in a safe and legal way. Keeping pets restrained can help to keep them happy and settled and help the driver to keep themselves and passengers safe, as well as avoiding a fine, points on their licence or invalidating their insurance.