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Surprising road rule that could result in motorists being caught out and slapped with hefty fines

A surprising road rule could result in many animal-loving motorists being slapped with hefty fines and serious injury as a result of going for a drive.

Experts say drivers many not be aware of the rule, given that in South Australia alone, more than 400 motorists copped a fine for the offence in the last three years.

Veterinarian Dr Jenny Weston told 7News while taking a quick drive with your pooch in your lap might seem innocent enough, it is not safe for you or the animal. 

A surprising road rule could result in many animal-loving motorists being slapped with hefty fines and serious injury as a result of going for a drive (stock image)

A surprising road rule could result in many animal-loving motorists being slapped with hefty fines and serious injury as a result of going for a drive (stock image)

Driving with an animal in your lap is illegal Australia-wide.  

‘Would you do it with a kid? I think that’s the simple thing – it’s not safe,’ Dr Weston said.

Not only is driving with your pet behind the wheel illegal, which can result in a $200 fine in South Australia, but according to animal experts it can cause serious injury to you or the pet.

Dr Weston said she has treated at least four animals in the last year for injuries related to being unrestrained while travelling in a vehicle. 

The veterinarian said if a driver is doing 20km/h an hour, the dog’s face is likely to hit the dash at 20km/h, which is a significant injury in itself.

But if the car is travelling at increased speeds of 60km/h or more, then the animal’s injuries are likely to be much more serious, she said. 

Veterinarian Dr Jenny Weston told 7News while taking a quick drive with your pooch in your lap might seem innocent enough, it is not safe for you or the animal

Veterinarian Dr Jenny Weston told 7News while taking a quick drive with your pooch in your lap might seem innocent enough, it is not safe for you or the animal

While it’s not illegal for animals to travel unrestrained in other areas of the car, road authorities have urged motorists to secure their pets to reduce the risk of injury. 

Royal Automobile Association of South Australia spokesperson Graeme O’Dea said travelling with an unrestrained animal can also result in serious injury to others.  

‘An animal can be thrown around a vehicle which increases its chances being injured and worse, but it also increases the risk of injury to the driver and other passengers in the vehicle,’ Mr O’Dea said. 



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