Rep. proposes bill to keep dogs off driver's laps - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Rep. proposes bill to keep dogs off driver's laps

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Dee DeQuattro

ddequattro@abc6.com

Doggone it! Rep. Peter Palumbo has had it with people driving with their dogs on their laps. For the second session in a row Palumbo has proposed legislation that would make driving with your pooch in your lap a traffic violation.

"I know some people think this is frivolous, but I still believe it is a matter of public safety, for humans and animals alike," said Representative Palumbo (D, Cranston).

Palumbo first proposed the bill on behalf of a constituent last session. According to the legislation violators could be fined $85 for the first offense, $100 for a second offense, and $125 for a third and any subsequent events.

"It doesn't take a lot for a driver to be distracted, and even minor distractions can lead to accidents and injuries," said Palumbo. "If you are driving and texting, you are not watching the road. If you are driving and petting your dog, you are not watching the road. Safety on our roads must come first, for everyone's sake, and a driver pre-occupied by a pet on his lap is not a safe driver, in my opinion."

According to a 2010 survey from AAA 21% of drivers who travel with their dog let Rover climb on their lap.

Currently, New Jersey is the only state with a law on the books allowing police to stop a driver who is improperly transporting an animal. Arizona, Connecticut, and New Hampshire allow police to charge people with pets on their laps as distracted drivers.

The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

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