Care Needed If You Drive With Your Dog
by Becky Harrison |
posted 09 February 2021
Almost a third (29%) of van drivers are risking a fine of up to £5,000 and potentially invalidating their insurance for not safely securing their dogs while driving to work, according to research by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
The study revealed 41% of van drivers who own dogs prefer to take them to work rather than leave them home alone or with a dogsitter. But a third admitted to not restraining them securely, which can lead to distractions. One in 10 drivers has had an accident while travelling in a vehicle with a pet or knows someone who has.
Rule 57 of the Highway Code states that pets must be "suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly."
The punishment for failing to secure a dog safely can range from up to £1,000 for driving without proper control but can be stepped up to £5,000 and nine points for careless driving. Plus, it carries the potential of an insurer invalidating your policy. There are several ways to safely secure your pet in the van including a comfortably sized seat-belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or in the boot behind a dog-guard.
Dog demand is now at an all-time high, with the Dogs Trust reporting that searches for "buy a puppy" more than doubled in 2020. Owners who have had an extended period at home during the COVID-19 lockdowns could face the potential prospect of returning to work later this year without their faithful companion by their side.
The Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles research found men are more likely to take their pets to work than women, while those working in London and Northern Ireland are most likely to bring their pets to work in their vans. Van drivers in East Anglia are more inclined to leave their dogs at home than any other region.