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Motorists who drive with their dogs in the car could face a hefty fine if they’re not careful.
If you’re the sort of dog owner who likes to let their pooch feel the wind in their fur, then be warned - because according to the Highway Code, your four-legged friend should be 'suitably restrained' while the vehicle is in motion so they don’t present a danger to you or themselves.
The law recommends that you use a seat belt harness, pet carrier, or dog cage to ensure that they’re safe while driving.
Rule 57 of the Highway Code states: "When in a vehicle, make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly.
"A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars."
Breaking the Highway Code doesn't have its own direct penalty but if police believe you are distracted while driving, you could be handed a £1,000 on-the-spot fine.
This can escalate to £5,000 and up to nine penalty points, or even a driving ban.
And don’t think that you can get around it by placing your dog in the boot of your vehicle, because even there they need to be properly restrained.
As well as being at risk of falling foul of ‘careless driving’, not having your pet restrained could also mean your insurance is invalid, which is far from ideal if you do end up involved in a crash.
Speaking to The Mirror, Rachel Wait of MoneySuperMarket said: "While driving with your pet in your car - whether in the boot or on a seat - might seem like a harmless way of getting from A to B, the truth is you can risk invalidating your car insurance.
"If you're in a prang with an unrestrained pet in your car, insurers may use it against you - regardless of whether it was as a direct result of the animal itself - so it's worth being on the safe side and making sure 'man's best friend' is properly restrained.
"Always read your policy in full to make sure you have the correct level of cover for your needs."
Not only that, but if your dog isn’t properly secured and you do end up in a crash, your pooch may end up with devastating injuries.
Car expert Mark Tongue from Select Car Leasing told The Mirror: "You should only ever have your dog by your side while driving if you're able, and know how, to disable the front passenger airbag, as some vehicles don't actually have an override function.
"Failing to disable the airbag could result in catastrophic injuries for a dog. An airbag is designed to provide protection for a human, not a canine, and the cushioning is simply in the wrong place."
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