Bill Would Ban Dogs On Drivers' Laps

A bill making its way through the Rhode Island state legislature would make it illegal to drive with a dog in your lap.

Introduced by Cranston state Rep. Peter Palumbo, the proposed legislation would call for fines of $85 for a first offense, $100 for the second, and $125 for subsequent offenses. Palumbo said he was moved to act after hearing from a constituent who witnessed a driver veering in traffic while trying to see around a dog seated in their lap.

Considering recent surveys from AAA in which 39 % of dog owners admitted to being distracted by their dogs while driving, proponents of the bill say it will encourage safer driving practices and reduce annual traffic fatalities.



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    April 10, 2012 9:12 amPosted 2 years ago
    Tracey

    It is so unsafe to drive with a dog in a lap. I don’t know if the drivers think about what could happen to the dog if they were in an accident. I like the little seats for smaller dogs and the harnesses for bigger dogs. I think that it is sad that common sense is missing and that a law has to be passed. Well I hope that law makes its way to being passed in all states.

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    April 10, 2012 5:33 pmPosted 2 years ago
    JamaicaRed

    and it should be just like a baby has no business in your lap

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    April 10, 2012 5:33 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Christopher

    Magaly, Meg, Jaki, Jacq

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  • April 10, 2012 5:33 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Anonymous

    it should be.

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  • April 10, 2012 5:33 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Jade

    I agree with this. I’ve seen a dog nearly fall out of a window standing on its owners lap hanging out of the window while they went 45-50 down the road. Not to mention the accidents that could be caused if a dog were to hit the steering wheel or something.

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  • April 10, 2012 5:34 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Susan

    it should already be illegal…it’s so dangerous…to other drivers & to the dogs!

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  • April 10, 2012 5:34 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Marilyn

    Much as I love my dogs, I agree with this one. Dangerous to dog AND driver and any hapless passenger too.

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    April 10, 2012 5:34 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Lynnz

    Dogs just like children need to be strap down in the car..They can fly out the window just as easy as a human…The worst is seeing a dog in the back of a pick up truck

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  • April 10, 2012 5:34 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Penny

    It should be!

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    April 10, 2012 5:34 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Sarah

    Good. That’s not safe for anyone involved… human or canine.

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  • April 10, 2012 5:34 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Michelle

    every state should have this. people just don’t have a clue. i have seen big dogs with head out one window and tail out the other window. now that seems safe.

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  • April 10, 2012 5:35 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Jan

    It’s a shame that there has to be so many Laws dictating what should be common sense!! Like don’t text and drive, no animals should ride in your lap when driving and Wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle!

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  • April 10, 2012 5:35 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Elizabeth

    I had a friend who let his dog sit up front with him. The dog freaked out one day, jumped onto the guys lap, guy swerves, car goes into ditch, and the next thing you know, I have a brother with 2 broken ankles and a broken leg.

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    April 10, 2012 5:35 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Theresa

    YES, its horribly dangerous….unfortunately natasha will sit nowhere else….

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    April 10, 2012 5:35 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Linda-Sunny

    Good! Not safe for anyone. Seat belt your pups, use a crate or a booster seat but if you love them, secure them! You don’t want puppy projectile in the event of a wreck. Hope this passes!

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    April 10, 2012 5:36 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Maria

    About time. This practice is just as dangerous as texting or talking on the phone while driving, if not more.

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    April 10, 2012 5:36 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Maurene

    A law is needed?? Really?

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    April 10, 2012 5:36 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Will

    How about dogs who ride on motorcycles?

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    April 10, 2012 5:36 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Leslie

    Yayyyyy ! Bout time! Just like “texting” while driving your dog sitting on your “lap while driving” should not be allowed. My God how many dogs need to get seriously hurt or killed before the owner/driver wises up!?

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    April 10, 2012 5:37 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Kristel

    Good. As it should be. I believe that if it isn’t safe for a child to do it, it isn’t safe for a dog, either.

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  • April 10, 2012 5:37 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Kim

    I am a huge dog lover, and think this makes perfect sense. That, and if i see another moron with dogs in the back of a truck that arent harnessed……… grrrrrrrrrrrr! too dangerous for the pups!

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    April 10, 2012 5:37 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Melody

    Don’t legislators have better things to do than make dumb laws like this??

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    April 10, 2012 5:37 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Leslie

    BTW,,,There’s a such thing as “seatbelts” for dogs. All pet stores carry them in all sizes :)

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  • April 10, 2012 5:37 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Kelly

    why don’t we stop them driving in the back of open vehicles first….

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    April 10, 2012 5:37 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Kathleen

    Good!

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  • April 10, 2012 5:37 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Maresa

    Now where I don’t think drives should have their pets in their laps I don’t think it should be made into a law. How about making it illigal for dog owners to put their dogs (uncrated) in the bed of a truck? It really pisses me off to see dogs loose in the back of a pick up truck.

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  • April 10, 2012 5:38 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Matthew

    We don’t need any new laws! It’s already illegal, it’s called distracted driving.

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  • April 10, 2012 5:38 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Panda

    This law…. does make sense

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  • April 10, 2012 5:39 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Mary

    I agree that it should be made into a law and also agree with Maresa that they should be protected on the bed of a truck.

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    April 10, 2012 5:39 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Heather

    as it should be, driving with a dog in your lap is not safe for the dog, or anyone else!

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    April 10, 2012 5:40 pmPosted 2 years ago
    J

    I use special adj. padded canine car seat harness or travel den/crate also fastened. In the event of a accident or simple rest stop it would be so easy for a startled pet to dash or nip/nite out of fear or injury. Not to mention make it easier for 1st responders to assist the accident survivors. Hope this helps a few furdarlins ride safe.

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  • April 10, 2012 5:40 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Teresa

    Yes, we need that law.

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  • April 10, 2012 5:40 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Steven

    Think about it. Air bags. As much as I love my dog, I don’t want him slammed into my face at 100 mph.

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  • April 10, 2012 5:40 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Cathy

    I agree with the no dog in the lap as you drive, but making people tie them in the car is going to far.

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    April 10, 2012 5:41 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Deb

    If your dog is in your lap, just think what the deployment of the air bag will do to her. Crate your dogs people. This should not be a common sense test or need to be passed into law. Never forget seeing TV video of an accident involving a high speed colision where the offender smashed head on into a heart surgeon on his way to an emergency. Clothes and suitcase were strewn everywhere, and there was the body of the offender’s sheltie lying in the road. Ack!

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    April 10, 2012 5:43 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Erin

    Our boy isn’t even allowed in the front seat, let alone in my lap! The front seat is too dangerous for both the driver (distraction) and the dog (air bags). Our boy is always belted in the back.

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    April 10, 2012 5:43 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Nicole

    Buckle up, pup! Someone served into my car one day while driving with my babe, saw her poor pitty body slam into my glove box :( not going too fast I still wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy, we ALWAYS wear a doggy belt in the car.

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  • April 10, 2012 5:43 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Diane

    Even though this should be common sense too many people dont seem to posses it. A dog should not be on your lap while driving anymore than a child should. If they would use their barins for something other than hat racks there woul be no need for these laws

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    April 10, 2012 5:44 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Janice

    I agree with this, not good for anyone

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    April 10, 2012 5:44 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Sandra

    already law in canada…..good idea for everyone

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    April 10, 2012 5:44 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Janice

    Dog is my Co-pilot!

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    April 10, 2012 5:45 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Peggy

    really? umm, well, dogs should not be in your lap while driving anyway,,,geez

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  • April 10, 2012 5:46 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Dot

    I see this all of the time in my neck of the woods. All I can think of is what the airbag deployment would do to these pups.

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  • April 10, 2012 5:46 pmPosted 2 years ago
    SaraBeth

    hahaha i couldn’t have mine in my lap anyway – is a Great Dane LOL i could just see that happening LMAO

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  • April 10, 2012 5:49 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Michelle

    i wish they would come up with a law that says no dog or people can sit in the back of pick up trucks, I have seen people and dogs. some dogs are tied up but can still jump out and hang themselves. trucks roll over a lot. we have ditches down here in N.C. in the country, so if you go off the road you hit these ditches and go airborn and flip over. there is a law down here for people to have seatbelts in the back of trucks, now really who has them.

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  • April 10, 2012 5:50 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Kari

    I’d need a lot more lap than I now possess for MY dog to ride there while I’m driving. Come to think of it, longer arms would also work.

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    April 10, 2012 5:51 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Valerie

    agree agree! and my dog is in a safety harness. Love him too much to have him thrown thru windshield if an accident should occur. and what about the ones in the open truck bed, very scary…

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    April 10, 2012 5:51 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Juliette

    I think it’s about time this happened! It needs to be in every state, I see so many drivers with dogs on their laps, and they’re SO distracted. And it’s dangerous for the dog, just like a baby shouldn’t be on the lap, neither should a dog. ]

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    April 10, 2012 5:52 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Lizzy

    Duh…

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    April 10, 2012 5:55 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Sooz

    Thank you for reinforcing this for me. I got discouraged recently trying to install pet BARRIERS for the back seat that I ended up having to return, but the post reminds me how important this is, regardless of how much I enjoy touching my Miniature Doxie (and how much he likes to feel the AC blowing). I just now have gone on ohmydogsupplies.com and ordered a back seat harness.

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  • April 10, 2012 5:56 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Stephanie

    actually I am totally for that…I have been an animal activist for 10 years…and my biggest pet peeve I witness is…dogs in cars with the windows cracked slightly (especially in the summer)…I call the cops, should never allow that to happen…too many fatalities…also, if a dog is in your lap and you stop short or are in an accident that baby you so lovingly allow on you lap you will probably do extreme damage to them…yourself with your own body…I’m all for it !!!

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  • April 10, 2012 5:56 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Laura

    it should be

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  • April 10, 2012 5:57 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Doug

    We can’t have a law the guarantees us affordable healthcare but you all want to make it illegal to for a little dog to sit on your lap while driving. Maybe you should check your priorities?

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  • April 10, 2012 5:57 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Liisa

    You would think that common sense would be enough.

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  • April 10, 2012 5:58 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Nanny

    Why would you want to anyway? With airbags in almost all the cars now, would you want your baby in your lap if one deployed?

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    April 10, 2012 5:58 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Diane

    good !! too many times it looks like they will fall out the window .. lets not even mention it impairing the driver .. I just think how horrid it would be to see a dog fall out and cause more accidents by trying not to hit the dog !!

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  • April 10, 2012 5:59 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Linda

    the fine should actually be MUCH larger because keeping your dog on your lap…or in the front seat…is just plain stupid and should be penalized with a huge fine!

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    April 10, 2012 6:00 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Rio

    Yah, I have to agree with this one. I don’t let my Daisy ride in my lap. She is just too distracting and BIG to be sitting in my lap while I drive.

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    April 10, 2012 6:02 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Beate

    Protect doggies like babies

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    April 10, 2012 6:03 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Diane

    It would probably be safer for the dogs if involved in a wreck.

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  • April 10, 2012 6:04 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Liisa

    Doug Traglio, it is possible to do both. Enforcing a law to keep dogs off your lap is a safety issue. If you are in an accident the dog and yourself could be injured by the air bag, the dog could go flying out of the vehicle, the dog could run off in a panic if in an accident and get run over or lost and causes no end of problems for first responders. Dogs should never be loose in the car! They become projectiles in a high speed accident and should be harnessed or crated for the same reasons as our children are. Would you drive with your baby in your lap?

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  • April 10, 2012 6:05 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Carrie

    I so agree. I was in an accident in November, and the officer responding mentioned that it was a good thing there were no dogs in the front seats. (I have rescue emblems on the car), and proceeded to say an airbag would kill an 80 lb lab. Mine are all latched into the back or crated now

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    April 10, 2012 6:06 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Wendy

    Hey Doug this site IS ABOUT DOGS!!!!!!! So go rant about healthcare somewhere else !!!!!!!

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    April 10, 2012 6:06 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Lindsay

    As a Rhode Islander, I am glad to see this is happening. My dogs use seatbelts in the back seat.

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    April 10, 2012 6:10 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Trancis Francis

    I’m a dog lover and I would not even question this(I don’t drive)… it just makes sense… They also should be harnessed if you care for your dog.

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    April 10, 2012 6:11 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Lucy M

    I on’t believe you should drive with a pooch on your lap. I have a pooch 120# …that would look really crazy and down right impossible to drive.

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    April 10, 2012 6:11 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Michelle

    Someone has to look out for and speak up for dogs..they don’t know they are in danger at times…people should know that the airbag could kill them if riding in the front at all…

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  • April 10, 2012 6:12 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Michelle

    you never hear of the amount of dogs that die in car accidents. i wonder how many.

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    April 10, 2012 6:15 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Bill

    Exactly WHY the State of RI is in such Bad shape. We worry about stupid Crap like this instead of trying to bring Jobs here..

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    April 10, 2012 6:16 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Nancy

    Good for them.

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  • April 10, 2012 6:18 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Jenny

    I hope this bill passes! I can’t fathom why people feel its ok to drive with your pet in your lap….

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    April 10, 2012 6:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Kerry

    Already illegal here in Queensland, Australia, good idea too, to dangerous!!!

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    April 10, 2012 6:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Melissa

    there are probably statistics about doggies in crates and accident survival rates. think about it – it’s no different than humans wearing seat belts. IT IS JUST SAFER!

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    April 10, 2012 6:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Buster

    My mom and dad NEVER let me ride on laps! They say it’s not safe. Mom has special harnesses and seatbelts for us. I personally don’t see the issue.

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    April 10, 2012 6:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Amanda

    Good they should do it everywhere its dangerous for driver and dog!!!!

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    April 10, 2012 6:24 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Kerry

    Also, texting while driving here is illegal in Australia too, massive fines if you are caught!!! The police ask us to dob in a driver if we see one doing it..

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  • April 10, 2012 6:28 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Storm

    as someone who works in traffic control for a living, this law needs to be put into effect in all states ..while driving with your dog in your lap is considered distracted driving, many dog owners who drive this way don’t consider it distracted driving and are shocked when they get pulled over and a warning or ticket because a dog is in their lap while driving. With that being said, there needs to be something in place stating its illegal to drive with your pet in your lap so everyone knows its illegal. the airbag deploying can kill even a large breed dog instantly, never mind what happens to a small breed dog, if the dog is in the front seat and its been also documented of the airbag forcing a frightened dog out the open window into the middle of a motor vehicle accident risking further injury or death or the dog takes off possibly running into traffic and getting hit or running away. dogs should be securely belted in with a special doggie harness in a rear seat or in a travel crate which is belted in securely.these animals are an extension of your family and you should secure them or belt them into your vehicle just as you would a child or child’s seat.

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  • April 10, 2012 6:29 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Janis

    good . .

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    April 10, 2012 6:32 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Jim

    Stupid legislators have nothing better to do?

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    April 10, 2012 6:36 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Rebecca

    It really is dangerous for the dog as well as the driver and everyone else on the road!

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    April 10, 2012 6:37 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Kya

    I hope it passes, and would like to see it passed EVERYWHERE!

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    April 10, 2012 6:39 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Robert

    If that airbag was to go off????? squished dog…crushed chest…nothing more to say!

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  • April 10, 2012 6:41 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Linda

    I think it is a great thing, I wish my state had this.

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  • April 10, 2012 6:44 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Kent

    Thats bull^%&* don’t the cops have better things to do OR do they just want the money that bad?

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    April 10, 2012 6:48 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Jen

    I support this so much that I don’t even care if the harness lobbyists are behind it.

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  • April 10, 2012 6:54 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Anonymous

    I think that for everyone’s safety dogs should not be on laps when driving. I hesitate even having my dog sit in the front passenger seat for fear that the airbag will go off and I have had to slam on my brakes causing my dog to hit the dashboard.

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  • April 10, 2012 6:54 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Tibor

    The more laws the less common senses…Being responsable is not by law, being responsable is living a life in which, one is shared experiance through and with the live of experianced people…Be available and use the communication skills which we all have to explain and share tips that will save a life…The law at the end only benefit but the bureaucrats and plutocrats..By law is such an easy term in which no being can figure the original reasons….Cars of today have nothing in comon of the ones of yesterday…Yesterday by law a car could not overtake a pedestrian…

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    April 10, 2012 6:56 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Carol

    GOOD!

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  • April 10, 2012 6:59 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Betty

    Every state should have that law.

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  • April 10, 2012 7:02 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Cindy

    Dogs should be in crates or back seat harnesses. If loose even in the backseat they can come forward and hit the dash, or go through the windshield. We we lucky, a head on crash in 2005 I was able to hold onto my dog who was sitting beside me in a pickup. From then on they ALWAYS wore a safety harness and now in crates. I shudder when I see people with their little dogs laying on the dashboard-even the barriers that keep them in the back? If you are ever rear ended your dog is crushed. Use your brain. There is no excuse for stupid. If your dog is hanging his head out the window? A bug or stone could get him in the face or eye – why do you think cars have windshields?????

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    April 10, 2012 7:08 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Kathryn

    Makes me crazy to see this and I see it a lot! Should have been a law years ago!!! Both hands on the steering wheel, hands free cell phone, no texting and no dogs on your lap! DUH!!!

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  • April 10, 2012 7:09 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Mindy

    Good idea.

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    April 10, 2012 7:09 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Lisa

    Mine are barricaded in the back; no seatbelts. Thinking maybe I should consider adding the seatbelts. And yes–they should add “riding in truck beds” and “having any more than 1/2″ of the tip of their noses outside the window” to the list of offenses.

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    April 10, 2012 7:15 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Renee

    Would you let your child set on your lap while driving? Hell no!

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    April 10, 2012 7:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Yeb

    Oh please! Soon they’ll outlaw breathing! ENOUGH LAWS. seriously…these over paid elected officials should start governing matters that affect our daily lives like jobs, stability, economy, gas, expenses. Instead they sit around thinking “what law should we make next?”

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    April 10, 2012 7:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Suzan

    Tibor I agree but have had two near miss with.people with dogs on their laps. I would like to live too.

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  • April 10, 2012 7:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Susan

    I love having my dog in the car with me. But in the back of the car with proper equipment. You wouldn’t dream of driving with a child on your lap, why would you let a dog on your lap.

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    April 10, 2012 7:28 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Carol

    Sigh….common sense would say…..

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    April 10, 2012 7:29 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Judith

    Wonderful! Riding with a dog on your lap is a serious hazzard for the driver, the dog and all of the drivers around them as well as their passengers.

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  • April 10, 2012 7:29 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Janet

    this would certainly decrease the risk of accidents from distracted driving, saving even the nay-sayers from harm and associated costs of caring for indigent victims of these accidents… Also it is economically sound to have your dog restrained when in a car. The money spent on almost any restraint system is much cheaper than dealing with a vet visit after your dog sliding into the floorboard or worse… Using your dog as an airbag is just poor form… I feel that anyone holding a living passenger in their lap, child or otherwise, is practicing a “grow your own airbag” theory of travel which doesn’t involve the informed consent of said passenger.

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