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New Jersey Contemplates First-Ever Pet Seatbelt Law

Dogs and cats are being thrust into the distracted-driving discussion; fines for unrestrained animals would be $250 to $1,000.

By Claire_Martin Sep 21, 2012 1:03PM
Dog in harness screenshot from Pet Travel Safety Youtube videoIf you'd been hit by a car in which the driver's dog was sitting on his lap or barking in the back seat, chances are you'd get behind a proposed New Jersey law that would require motorists to strap their cats and dogs into a harnesslike system or face fines of between $250 and $1,000. The law considers free-floating pets to be an act of animal cruelty.

If the law is passed, New Jersey would become the first state to require pet harnesses. Hawaii bans Fido from riding in drivers' laps, and Arizona and Connecticut issue tickets if a pet is involved in a distracted-driving incident. 

A New Jersey firefighter named Scott Law was the unfortunate victim of a dog-related distracted-driving incident as a child, when he was struck by a driver whose car was transporting Chinese takeout and a dog.
 
The car jumped the curb and sent Law 50 feet into the air, putting him in a coma and saddling him with a lifelong stutter. “They think it’s cute when they’re driving with the dog on their lap," Law, who supports the legislation, told Bloomberg. "But it’s not cute and it’s not safe." 

Opponents of the bill say New Jersey has bigger problems on its plate, including the highest unemployment rate in 30 years.
 
Nearly one-fifth of dog-toting drivers in a survey admitted to taking their hands from the wheel to keep the pet out of the front seat; almost one-quarter said they had restrained their dog with their hand while braking, according to reporting by Bloomberg.
 
Those are familiar scenarios for many people, no doubt, but is it enough of a problem to warrant dispatching police officers to issue traffic tickets? What are your thoughts? Add a comment below.

553Comments
Sep 29, 2012 7:43AM
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More control, more fines.  People who have common sense are now being told how and what to do

because of a few.  TOO much government intervention.  Too much government.  As officials, you should have better things to do on your salary that to wonder if a dog is loose in a car.  All about money and control.  I think the government should stay out of the personal life of people.  Try welfare reform, animal care laws, abuse laws...and leave our pets who ride alone, there are much bigger things out there of concern

Sep 29, 2012 7:39AM
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Sorry, but I think this is a good thing. Just had my new (5 month old) f150 totaled due to a girl with her german shepard in her lap. When the police questioned her she told them that Buddy had climbed into her lap to be pet and she was too busy petting him to see the red light and that I was stopped in front of her. I have dogs and would never let them climb all over the car. Been to accidents where pets have been thrown out the windows and killed. If you love your pets treat them like you would treat your children. Do you let your kids jump all over your car when driving down the road?
Sep 29, 2012 6:53AM
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these dumb bastards have nothing better to do jobs leaving the us and this state wants to put kitties in seatbelts those dumb bastards
Sep 29, 2012 6:33AM
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What about the, School bus  No seatbelt there ????  
Sep 29, 2012 6:31AM
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Too many people, too much traffic,  Stop immigration. Stop breeding dummies on welfare.
Sep 29, 2012 6:07AM
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Life is full of risks. Every time you (and your dog) walk out of the relative safety of your house, there is the possibility of getting hurt. So, it is up to YOU to decide the precautions needed to ensure your safety. If you decide that it is a good idea to strap your dog into your car, then YOU go ahead & do it. The few times that I take my dog with me in my car, we go to the doggie park or the vet. That's it. So I don't want him to have to endure the torturous experience that this safety idea would impose on us.

 

His squirming  and cries of pain and disdain would be far more of a distraction than letting him walk around on the back seat. We don't need the ever expanding government to demand that everyone subscribe to this one size fits all government imposition that would make you a criminal to take your dog for a car ride.  

WHY IS IT THAT POLITICIANS FOCUS ON MAKING NEW LAWS, INSTEAD OF REMOVING THOSE LAWS THAT ARE OUTDATED, REDUNDANT & JUST PLAIN STUPID (LIKE THIS ONE).  

Sep 29, 2012 5:56AM
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LETS HOPE THESE KNUCKLE HEADS THAT PUT THESE DOGS IN THE BEDS OF THEIR PICK UPS THAT ARE TRAVELING 75 MPH WILL BE TARGETED, FINED. AROUND THE FARM.. FINE. NOT ON THE HIGHWAYS AND FREEWAYS. 
Sep 29, 2012 5:55AM
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When you crash and burn, poor fido won't be able to undo his seatbelt because he doesn't have thumbs.  He'll just sit there and burn while you're trying to pull your sorry butt from that flaming crash! 
Sep 29, 2012 5:40AM
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