Drivers warned of £5,000 fine and nine penalty points for driving with pets this Easter

More than two thirds of drivers admitted they don’t drive more carefully when they have a pet in the car, even though the risk can sometimes be higher. Drivers can be hit with a £1,000 on-the-spot fine for careless driving when they are deemed to be distracted by their pets.

Motorists are being urged to refrain from letting their pet lean their head out the window.

Rule 57 of the Highway Code deals with people driving with animals in the vehicle and how to properly restrain them.

It states: “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 restraining animals in cars.”

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The highest fine that can be given is £5,000 and nine penalty points, depending on the severity of the breach.

In extreme cases, if an accident occurs and there is an unrestrained pet, drivers could face a driving ban and a compulsory retest.

Adem Fehmi, Dog Behaviorist for Barking Heads, has warned drivers, saying: “If you fail to restrain your dog, you not only put both them and you at risk, but you also put other drivers at risk.

“Further to this, if a crash occurred as a result of your dog distracting you from driving safely this could be deemed as ‘careless and inconsiderate driving’ or ‘dangerous driving’ and further action could be taken against you including points on your licence, a fine or even a disqualification.

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“Your insurance policy may also be invalid in this instance.

“For your dog to be restrained, they should be fully secured and not able to travel over the seats of your car or climb up to peer out of a window – even if the window is closed.

“It is best to consider securing and restraining your dog like you would a small child – it is much better to be safe than sorry.”

With millions of drivers setting off this easter for a holiday, many will be taking their pets with them, especially if they are heading on staycation.

However, driving with a pet can come with further fines if they are not properly restrained or even something as innocent as letting them out on the hard shoulder.

A dog sticking their head out of the window could cost drivers three points and a £2,500 fine as it shows the dog is not restrained and could cause a distraction for other drivers.

Although it is not a legal requirement set out in legislation, motorists could still be pulled over for “driving without due care and attention”.

Rule 56 of the Highway Code states that if a driver is broken down on a hard shoulder, they are not to let your pets out of the car.

Doing so could not only cause a distraction to other drivers but a frightened pet could lose control and run out into the road, causing an accident.

Failing to follow this rule could land drivers with a careless driving fine of up to £2,500.

As spring gets underway, the weather is expected to get warmer, which could also lead to fines.

It’s widely known that pets should not be left in a hot parked car for a prolonged period, or owners could be charged with animal cruelty and a £2,000 fine.

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