Driving with a pet in the car is not an uncommon practice in Massachusetts. Many pet owners find great joy in taking their pets out for a leisurely drive and love their company as they run errands. Pets can enjoy it just as much, but sometimes they may become a little too enthusiastic and cause a distraction for drivers.

For this very reason, many states have enacted laws making it mandatory for dogs and other animals to be tethered or placed in a kennel while a vehicle is in motion. Massachusetts is one of those states; failure to obey this law can land you a costly citation with fines anywhere between $50 and $200.

In addition to being distracting, pets that are not restrained can become dangerous projectiles during a car accident. They can also become seriously injured in the accident and may get in the way of rescue personnel who are trying to help those injured on the scene. Dogs can be particularly protective of their owners, especially when they are frightened or injured. This may lead them to become aggressive toward rescue workers.

In order to properly restrain a pet, a carrier or harness should be used. A harness should hold the animal in the middle of the back seat. A carrier should also be placed in the back of the car and should be secured.

Restraining your pet cannot only save their lives in the event of an accident, it also reduces the risk of taking your attention off the road while driving.

Source: Parade, “Do You Let Your Dog Sit on Your Lap in the Car?” Michele C. Hollow, Feb. 24, 2014

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