Do I need to restrain my dog in the car? The answer to this question depends on your location and requires a mostly common sense response. Throughout Australia the laws surrounding dog restraint when travelling in or on the back of a car vary from state to state.
In Victoria and South Australia, helfty fines apply if dogs travelling on the back of utes are not restrained. In New South Wales, drivers could face hefty fines and jail sentence if a dog is injured as a result of being unrestrained. In Western Australia it is illegal for a dog to travel on the lap of the driver. For more information, we recommend visiting your local road safety authority’s website.
In addition to adhering to the relevant state law on pet restraint in cars, as veterinarians we believe a common sense approach to dog safety is best. Firstly any unsecure objects in a car can easily turn into life threatening projectiles during an impact. Pets left free to roam in a car can not only be life threatening to any humans or other animals travelling in a car, they are also in direct danger of being injured themselves.
The NRMA reports “If you’re driving 60km per hour with an unrestrained 20kg dog in your car and it gets thrown onto you, the impact is the same as if it had hit you from a third-floor balcony.” So in the absence of controlled product testing or restraining methods we believe the benefits far outweigh any risk.