Whether it is off to the park, going to the grocery store or just taking a joy ride, many North Carolina residents take their dog companions with them in the car. However, too many people do not think to restrain their animal in the car. It can create a seriously dangerous scenario while in transit. Pets are often unpredictable, and that unpredictability can lead to distracted driving situations.
Dog distraction in a vehicle
North Carolina law does not make a direct stipulation that dogs must be restrained while riding in a vehicle. However, there is a general rule that requires dogs to not be a distraction of any type while a vehicle is in motion to avoid motor vehicle accidents. Some dog owners may want to use a standard seat belt when the dog is big enough to fit comfortably, but small dogs may need a cage of some sort or a leash.
The problem of contributory negligence
One of the major problems with having a dog or any other animal riding in a vehicle is the potential to cause motor vehicle accidents. North Carolina contributory negligence law holds that any driver who is even 1% at fault for causing an accident in which they are injured cannot file suit against another driver. A dog that contributes to any accident could put the owner in that exact predicament of not being able to seek compensation for their injuries.
For this reason, North Carolina attorneys may advise all drivers to buckle up their dogs as well as themselves when driving. Not only is it safer for a pet, but it is safer for everyone on the road.