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
"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
"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.