Colorado State Patrol Cautions Drivers about Unrestrained Pets

Ridealong- Durango 2021


(COLO) – To many Coloradoans’ pets are a part of the family and they often accompany us on the road. But how many people who travel with their furry friends are putting them into a harness, a pet carrier or a crate? Any activity, like petting your dog or reaching back to provide a treat to your cat, that takes a driver’s attention away from driving is considered distracted driving. In addition, a free roaming pet can turn into a deadly projectile during a crash or sudden stop.

The State of Colorado, like most states, doesn’t have an explicit law that states you must restrain your pet in a vehicle or that you are prohibited from driving with a pet in your lap. However, having a pet in your lap may cause you to drift into another lane, hit a vehicle or go off the road where you would be cited for careless driving.

“Having your pet properly restrained is important for your pet’s safety and your own,” explains Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Even the most well-behaved dog or cat can be a distraction. And, just like you, a pet can fly through the windshield, out an open window or crash into the dashboard.”

If you are going on a car ride, remember to protect your pet by following these recommendations from The National Humane Society

Pets Shouldn’t Roam – dogs should be in a crate anchored to the vehicle and cats should be in a carrier.

Leave the Front Seat for Humans – airbags can cause serious injury to pets, even if in a carrier or crate.

Keep Those Heads Inside – pets can be injured by particles of debris or made sick by cold air being forced into their lungs.

Don’t Leave Your Pet Alone in the Car – heat is a serious hazard and even 70- degree temperatures can heat your car to over 100 degrees in less than an hour.

And another hazard is the possibility of someone stealing your pet while you’re away.

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