Rules of the Road

Rules of the Road: Can a dog be in the driver’s lap?

A Malamute looks like he’s getting reaady to drive this parked 18-wheeler on 152nd St. East and 27th Ave. in Tacoma. While it’s fine for a dog to sit in the driver’s seat in a parked car, it’s not safe to have him in your lap while you’re driving.
A Malamute looks like he’s getting reaady to drive this parked 18-wheeler on 152nd St. East and 27th Ave. in Tacoma. While it’s fine for a dog to sit in the driver’s seat in a parked car, it’s not safe to have him in your lap while you’re driving. The News Tribune

Question: I see people driving with dogs in their laps. Is that legal? It sure doesn’t seem safe!

Answer: I have not found a code, either municipal or state, that makes it illegal to drive with a dog on your lap unless it interferes with the safe operation of the vehicle. It is not safe for either the dog or the driver if they are involved in a crash when the airbag deploys. This will crush the dog between the driver and the air bag, causing serious injuries to both of them.

Rules of the Road is a regular column with questions and answers on road laws, safe driving habits and general police practices. Answers come from David Wright, a retired officer from the Bellingham Police Department who just finished his time on the Whatcom County Traffic Safety Task Force. For previous Rules of the Road columns or to ask a question, go to bellinghamherald.com/news/traffic/rules-of-the-road/.

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