EVERYONE knows that all passengers in a vehicle need to wear a seat belt.
But that law only applies to human passengers – what about our furry friends?
Legally, animals do not have to be restrained inside a motor vehicle.
But under the Road Safety Road Rules 2009, animals are not allowed to travel on the lap of the driver – that is an offence.
It is also an offence if the animal interferes with the driver’s control of the motor vehicle.
These offences can attract fines of more than $600.
So if your pet is boisterous, it might be best to ensure they are safely restrained when travelling in a vehicle.
The RSPCA advises the restraining a dog is also safer for both the dog and human occupants, because in the event of a crash, the animal is less likely to be thrown around the vehicle.
A restraint will also prevent a dog jumping out of a window.
Greencross Vets White Hills veterinarian Jack Lang agreed it was something all responsible owners should do.
“They’re at the same risk as having kids unrestrained in the car,” Dr Lang said.
He recommends dogs be restrained in harnesses, rather than a lead attached to a collar.
If the car comes to a sudden stop, a harness will distribute pressure more evenly across the body, which is better for the dog.
The RSPCA says animals restrained in transport containers or crates must have plenty of room to lie down comfortably, stand, sit and stretch.
Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986, a dog in the back of a ute or in a trailer must be secured so it cannot fall out, or be injured by the movement of the vehicle or trailer.
Dr Lang said dogs should be secured to a central anchor point, where they could not reach the side of the tray, and again recommended a harness.