It might be a popular sight with many British road users, but UK drivers who allow their dog to hang its head out the car window while driving could face a driving ban.
According to the used car buying service, ChooseMyCar.com, one rule of the HIghway Code means that drivers who don’t adequately restrain their pet while driving could be in real hot water. Allowing a dog to place its head outside of the vehicle is a sure fire way to demonstrate that the animal is not sufficiently secured and is therefore likely to result in a driver being pulled over.
Rule 57 states that: “When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of safely restraining animals in cars.”
If a driver is stopped and found to be not following this guidance, they can face on the spot fines to a maximum of £5,000, up to nine points on their licence, and even a full ban and compulsory retest.
Founder of ChooseMyCar.com, Nick Zapolski, said many drivers are not aware of Rule 57 and are therefore vulnerable to losing their licence.
“It always raises a smile when you see a happy dog with its head hanging out the window, ears flopping in the wind, but it’s an obvious way to demonstrate that you aren’t following Rule 57 – and that could cost you your licence.
“And it’s not just that – in the event of an accident, an unrestrained dog could do serious damage to itself and the people in the car. It’s cheap and simple to get a seatbelt for your dog or a dog guard for the boot – and can save a lot of heartache.”