Recently a bill about driving with your dog sailed through the TN House of Representatives, but then stalled in a Senate committee.
The bill would make it illegal to drive with a dog on your lap or in between the driver and the driver’s door. Labeling driving with a lap dog a misdemeanor, the bill would punish offenders with up to $50 in fines and up to 30 days in jail.
Opponents of the bill argue that it doesn’t solve the problem it claims to address: that drivers with dogs in their laps may drive recklessly. No studies have determined that lap dogs cause more accidents in Tennessee than driving without a dog. Owners of small, well-behaved dogs, critics argue, may be punished for no good reason instead of real reckless drivers.
As an alternative, they offer heightened restrictions and penalties for reckless driving, which is illegal in Tennessee.
Supporters of the bill may see it as a similar restriction to outlawing texting while driving. While some people may be able to hit “send” on a text without causing an accident, not every driver will be so lucky. Laws restricting certain activities while driving could, supporters suggest, prevent reckless driving before it happens.
In addition, proponents cite the dangers involved for the pet. Small dogs can fall out of windows, get stuck in the steering and emergency brakes, and be severely injured in case of an accident.
The bill is expected to come up for vote again in mid-April.
If you are injured in a car accident with a reckless driver, our Memphis car accident attorneys can help. Contact us today (901-327-1212) for a free consultation.
(Photo by Studio Amore)