POLL: Should Dogs be Banned from Riding on Drivers' Laps?

State lawmakers are looking to pass a bill that would put pets on the list of distractions for drivers in Rhode Island.


Dogs and texting could potentially share something in common. 

If a proposed bill is passed, both would be considered serious driving distractions to drivers in Rhode Island, according to a Fox News report Tuesday.

The bill, currently making its way through the state legislature, aims to ban drivers from having their pets ride on their laps. 

Violators would pay an $85 fine for the first offense, a $100 fine for the second offense and $125 for subsequent offenses. 

Do you agree? Are pets serious distractions for drivers on the road? Weigh in on today's poll and let us know your thoughts in the comments below. 

Suzanne Arena April 11, 2012 at 05:42 PM
THANK YOU Coventry Voter! I will pass this on to the 2 legislators. It sounds like this awareness is now out - perhaps now that we know where the LAW IS....we can have authorities know it and enforce it. Who knew!
English first April 11, 2012 at 05:50 PM
JR How did you train your small dogs to behave in the event of an accident?
Suzanne Arena April 11, 2012 at 06:30 PM
To me, it puts the microscope on the police, as they allow this practice. Perhaps they don't know it was passed before. Obviously no one seems to know its ALREADY THERE. My spin is if they aren't aware, how can the public know.... Trying to figure out what to do now, blame is not the answer. This seems like a great opportunity to make everyone aware....Ooops - Who knew!!
Still Hope April 11, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Rub their nose in it?
Judy Bailey April 11, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Why was my rather harmless comment erased? I was merely questioning our legislators wisdom on focusing on this'
Dave B April 11, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Any grown man driving with a dog on their lap looks stupid to begin with any way! If you want a small dog then get a CAT and leave it at home for Gods sake! Pay attention to the road.
Susan-Sasla Franco Pfost April 11, 2012 at 11:08 PM
I totally get the need for this law and think it's sound....however, you can bet some nutjob will use another drivers' dogs in a vehicle as some sort of come-uppance, sadly, for perceived traffic slights from another driver and then it'll be on like Donkey Kong. I never fail to be astounded by the hazards people commit while behind the wheel, things they'd NEVER do face-to-face with that same person. I'm guessing this law, while well-intentioned & safety-focused, will spawn a whole new batch of loonies which will almost certainly further clog the court system. :(
Baywatch April 12, 2012 at 04:36 AM
How many people do you notice being diistracted by their lap dogs while driving? This is where the effort is being put by our government? Aren't there bigger issues to focus on? Let the police clean up the gangbangers before we worry about Mr Smith down the street allowing spot the pug ride unrestrained in the car while on the way to the vet. Wow.
Baywatch April 12, 2012 at 04:40 AM
Since when does posting a reply necessitate moderator approval? Seriously, if this is the state that this website has denigrated to, then it's time to move on. A big part of the appeal of community forums is the ability to discuss topics electronically with our neighbors, in REAL TIME. I suspect that lagging the responses will not have a positive effect on the community.
Beth Johnson April 12, 2012 at 05:27 AM
We keep our children safe if not in a Car Seat then in Seat Belt's , why risk having your pet on your lap & there is no way you can say it is not distracting it is ! When I take my Rescue Cat who ended up to be a Pure Bred & quite rare, she always' travel's in her VERY NICE CAT HOLDER ! , I do not want to take the chance she will try to get on my lap & distract me. I am in no way saying it is like getting a DUI , but you do act as distracted, and swerve & you are very lucky everyone who does it that you have not hit & harm, even worse killed someone. So don't judge DUI , in a sober way , w/a dog on lap is just as bad in my eye's . Would you hold a Baby in your arm's. Either of them a Dog or Baby - the Airbag would deploy & harm them very bad. Keep it in mind!!
Ted Geisel April 12, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Suzanne, The key words of the statue are "open air motor vehicle". Ie Convertible with the top down or in a pickup truck bed. This law does not apply to people driving around in their sedans or SUVs as they are closed in vehicles.
coventry voter-Jay April 12, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Maybe i'm reading ir wrong. It says "It shall be unlawful for any person to transport any animal or animals either for business or pleasure on or in an open air motor vehicle unless the animal or animals being transported: (1) Is kept in an enclosed area of the motor vehicle; (A caged off back seat or hatch area or actual carrier) (2) The animal or animals are under the physical control of a person other than the operator of the motor vehicle; (Passenger can hold your dog/cat/bird/chicken/pig) (3) The animal or animals are placed in the motor vehicle and safely restrained by a harness manufactured for the purpose of restraining animals by means other than neck restraints. (Body harness SHALL be used inside the vehicle if not restrained by the non-driver)
coventry voter-Jay April 12, 2012 at 02:54 PM
So if you do not do one of the 3 its un-lawfull transport Correct?????
Matt April 12, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Put your mutt in the back or leave it at home.
coventry voter-Jay April 12, 2012 at 07:16 PM
l would love to take my dog for a ride but He keeps shaking the saddle off every time I try to ride him.
Beth Johnson April 12, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Hi, The Main Problem everyone is talking about is mainly those ; Toy Dog's that people let sit on thier lap's while they are driving, we all see them. The dog is across the Driver's Lap & looking out the driver's window it is blocking the Driver's sight , and there is no doubt that is what is happening. My Dog can go for a ride me , but he is secured with a kind of seatbelt just for him, that way he is secure in the back seat ( safety a MUST!! ) , but he can also look out the window in the back, he is never allowed in the Front Seat. First he would not be secure & second with the way the newer SUV's are, my AirBag's would do great harm to him. It is not banning the dog from the Vehicle, it is looking after the Saftety of any Animal. And Secure & Safe in the back - still being able to look out the window, my dog is a Lab/Retriever Mix ( I only get Rescue Animal's - there are great pet's there & all I want his for him to be safe in my SUV ) . This is not banning dog's or cat's from vehicle's, it is about their safety! Beth Johnson
Suzanne Arena April 13, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Exactly Beth Johnson! Thanks for commenting.
MARYLOU April 13, 2012 at 01:51 AM
UnfilteredHonesty April 13, 2012 at 04:02 AM
Seriously sick of the disregard for animals. It should also include having a dog in the back of the pick up.
Spring Street April 13, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Guinness "Giant George" Great Dane 250lbs48" ! http://gma.yahoo.com/video/pets-26594274/giant-george-great-dane-is-world-s-tallest-dog-28944351.html
Wes Lessard April 14, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Jennifer Atack, I agree , I cannot stand being on side street never mind the Highway where I have seen Dog's in back of Pick-up's . Their Safety is in so much danger, these driver's should realize that if they hit the brake's hard, where are the dog's going , flying out of the FlatBed that is . It is about Safety, why is everyone making it , ( as my mom would say : A Mountain out a of a Mole Hill !! ), My pet is a member of the family & I want him as safe as possible. But again I agree, dog's or any pet & even human's in a moving Pick-up Trucks Flatbed, is not a good idea & the outcome , is even to horrible to Think of!! Beth Johnson
Wes Lessard April 14, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Just wanted to let you know my husband's first name accidently was put on the post this is my opinion & mine only , I have no idea how it got there!!
Farmer T April 16, 2012 at 02:37 PM
With all of the PROBLEMS facing Rhode Island, THIS is what our elected officials are spending their time (and our money) debating. Where are the jobs bills? Where are the bills for pension reform; mortgage reforms, debt management, aid to Cities and Towns, Bankruptcy of our Cities and Towns, improving the business environment, waste and fraud in government ????? I'm not re-electing ANY OF THEM, I don't give a damn what anyone else tells me or what political party they "represent". THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT WORTHY TO HOLD THEIR OFFICES AND MUST GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Beth Johnson April 16, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Beside's the fact that I want to let you know that the opinion on the board w/my Husband Wes's name is my opinion ONLY! I was using my Maiden name - so from now on I will just sign my whole legal name; Beth Johnson-Lessard. The problem with these dog's is not just about the dog's themselve's , it is the fear of a CRASH happening due to the distraction & someone wrote about banning ; Coffee, etc.... I was behind a person putting make-up on, all over the road, she did get pulled over , but any distraction is dangerous . Beth Johnson- Lessard
Bill Hall April 16, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Look everything you do in RI is already against the law, every time you create a new law you loose a little more freedom and a lot more liberty. Soon this State will be like living in Nazi Germany. Cool it on the laws lets leave a little freedom for our children.
Suzanne Arena April 17, 2012 at 04:26 AM
That is truly unbelievable.
Suzanne Arena April 17, 2012 at 04:33 AM
Farmer T, Joe Six Pack and all the other average (like me) residents. I agree there are priorities here in depressed Rhode Island and while this is not at the top of the Bills for reform or putting emphasis on to collect monies we desperately need....it is still worthy of fixing and bringing safety to all. As with any of the reform, whatever monies are saved...one must look at the hands that still filter it at the House. We continue to elect those that mishandle ANY monies that they receive then it's "business as usual because they continue to do what they've always done", which in the end is mind blowing. While all of us are trying to pursue anything in this State, I would like to do so with the Dog "only in the backseat/restrained law", and feel more at ease knowing the doggie isn't blocking/distracting the view of the driver.
la_mouffette April 18, 2012 at 01:28 AM
How can we even be CONSIDERING this law when it is still legal to talk on a handheld cellphone will driving in RI? http://www.drivinglaws.org/risland.php When I see people driving with a dog in the car, they rarely frighten me with their driving. Often, the dog isn't in the driver's lap, but leaning out some other window. Is it a potential distraction? Sure is.... But--and this happens multiple times a week-- when I see someone swerving, suddenly breaking, almost rear-ending someone, taking corners awkwardly, half-pulled over in the road with no signal to tell me what they're doing, or when someone nearly hits me, at least 60% of the time, this person has a cell phone pressed to their head with one hand. According to university studies, using a wireless device like a cell phone is the leading cause of driver distraction, drivers using cell phones are four times more likely to get into a serious accident, and driving while on the phone produces the same amount of distraction as having a .08 blood alcohol level. And a poll conducted by Nationwide insurance found that most people would support at least some legal limits on cell phone use while driving. http://www.nationwide.com/newsroom/dwd-facts-figures.jsp We KNOW driving one-handed while on the phone causes LOTS of accidents, and is a serious and widespread problem. What is the point of requiring all dogs to be crated, and yet ignoring the much more serious cell phone issue?
la_mouffette April 18, 2012 at 01:33 AM
oh, now that I agree with. I'm sure the dogs enjoy it, but in the event of even a minor accident, they could get mangled. I cringe whenever I see that.
la_mouffette April 18, 2012 at 01:38 AM
aha! I take it back....Senator Susan Sosnowski has presented legislation (Ri senate bill 2223) that would ban any handheld cell phone use while driving. Hands-free devices like Bluetooth would still be legal. Let's see if it passes! http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/billtext12/senatetext12/s2223.htm


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