Dogs Don't Drive!

Dogs Dont DriveYour dog may be licensed, but it isn't a licence to drive a vehicle reminds a reader. This person was concerned about the number of human drivers that drive with their dogs riding in a position that might interfere with their control over the vehicle. They are correct, it's not a good idea, even with small dogs.

Driving With Control or View Obstructed

Section 195 of the Motor Vehicle Act requires that a driver must not cause their vehicle to move on a highway if their control over them or their view to the front or sides is obstructed in any manner.

Dogs Obstruct Vision and Control

The large dog standing on the rear seat with head and shoulders out the driver's window is certainly a vision obstruction. How could you possibly make a proper shoulder check to the left? Similarly, a smaller dog on the lap could easily move into a position that would entangle it in the steering wheel, probably at the worst possible time.

Restrain Your Passenger Pets

We wouldn't think of doing this with our children anymore, why do it with a pet? Restraint harnesses are now available to protect your pet in case of a collision if you choose to use them. Keeping your furry friend safely out of your way would be an added bonus.

The safest place for both children and pets is in the back seat.

Dogs and First Responders

A veterinary web site I reviewed agrees with the use of pet restraints, advising that dogs can become aggressive after a collision and attack first responders. This could hinder timely help from them if you need it.

While we are on the subject, the same rule applies to human passengers. They must not occupy any position in the vehicle that would interfere with the driver's control over any of the vehicle's mechanisms.

Remember Your Airbags?

This story would not be complete without including the airbag in our consideration. I would not like to have it deploy with anything between it and myself! In one case that I could find in Nanaimo, a dog was seriously injured by a driver's side airbag that deployed in a crash. Fortunately, the driver did not suffer the same fate.

I return to this point again and again in my Road Safety for Seniors classes: read and heed all the information in the owner's manual about supplemental restraint systems (SRS).

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I totally understand the reasoning for making the use of electronic devices behind the wheel illegal, what I don’t understand is why is it not illegal for people to have their dogs on their laps while driving. There has been SO many times where I have been driving beside a person that has a pet on their lap. To me this is also a huge distraction also, what happens is that pet falls on the floor and impleads the driver from using the brakes or gas pedal. I think that the government should make it illegal to have pets in the front seat and they should be properly fastened in the back seat, just like a child!!!

Interesting that a dog on the lap while assisting the driver-isn't distracted driving. Quite amazed that some drive wirh Tim Hortons coffee in one hand and dog on lap . Are both hands required to be on the steering wheel?

In reply to by Phil (not verified)

There is nothing in the Motor Vehicle Act that says specifically both hands must be used on the steering wheel.

The standards for ICBC Road Tests are also different; a new driver applying for a Class 7 license, for instance, is expected to have both hands on the wheel except as necessary to operate other controls.  

Whereas a Class 5 driver - might be someone from another non-reciprocal jurisdiction, or a senior taking a Re-Exam - is granted more leeway.

Interesting that a dog on the lap while assisting the driver-isn't distracted driving.

Would be hard to prove in court that the dog distracted the driver, unless it was licking his face at the time ... besides, as mentioned above, Section 195 has it covered.

Of course, in order for the police to issue tickets, they would need to focus on dog owners instead of speeders, and this might not go over so well with the general public ...

For years my Lab/Shepherd laid down on the centre console. And our moderator will like this when he thought I was approaching a corner too fast he would bare his fangs and growl at me. The Chihuahua would curl up and sleep on the front or back seat.

This changed when I came upon an accident one day where a vehicle had rolled. The driver was in the ambulance but concerned about her dog that had taken off after the accident and could not be located. The dog was found three days later and taken to the vet. And that changed my attitude. I bought harnesses. It didn't stop the critiquing of my driving but at least if something happened they would not be running around and possibly get hit by another vehicle or lost.

Even if your dogs ride in the back of a pick-up make sure they are secured in a manner that does not allow them to get over the side. There has been cases where they have been injured or killed from being dragged when the leash is too long or have jumped or fallen out with the same results.