A head-on collision at the Coombs Junction on Vancouver Island killed a dog and sent one woman to hospital on Monday, Jan. 27. (Facebook screen capture)

The ‘ultimate distraction’: RCMP warn drivers against unsecured pets in vehicles

Cops, ICBC offer tips after pooch killed in Vancouver Island mishap

Driving with a dog on your lap? That’s grounds for a distracted driving ticket, says Cpl. Jesse Foreman of the Oceanside RCMP.

Not only is having unsecured pets in your vehicle a distraction, it’s potentially dangerous for the animals.

A head-on collision at the Coombs Junction on Monday, Jan. 27 caused one woman to be sent to hospital, while the pet in her vehicle, a dog, died in the accident.

Following the mishap, the NEWS reached out to ask about the rules surrounding pets in vehicles.

Foreman says that the Oceanside RCMP issued a related ticket that caused quite a stir several years back.

READ MORE: Head-on collision in Coombs results in dead dog, woman in hospital

“We actually set precedent in Qualicum Beach when we gave a ticket to someone who had a dog on their lap,” said Foreman.

“I mean, that is the ultimate distraction. Having your pet on your lap while you’re driving.”

Foreman says it’s not only a distraction, but a big danger to your pet.

“From personal experience, when I worked in Sayward, I went to a collision when someone had their dog on their lap and they got in a crash. The airbag pushed the dog into their chest, and all that was left of their dog was fur and blood on their chest. That’s not something I would want anyone to go through,” said Foreman.

“There’s nothing stopping an airbag, right? So if you’re driving around and you bump into a deer, or you hit another vehicle, your dog’s going to be between you and the airbag. If we see that, we’re going to pull the person over.”

READ MORE: Eating cereal, trimming nose hairs – it’s all illegal while driving

ICBC recommends your furry friends are harnessed in seat belts or in crates while driving around town – whether it’s on a quick jaunt to the grocery store or a longer road trip.

“The crate must be secured in place by a seat belt, cargo hooks, or placed by the rear seat to secure it in place. If unsecured, the crate can bounce around and even become a projectile,” reads ICBC’s page on travelling with pets.

Cats are recommended to be kept in travel carriers, as they can potentially crawl around your feet, causing problems when braking.

And although a dog in the back of a pickup truck may evoke the feeling of your favourite country song, it’s actually a violation in B.C. the Motor Vehicle Act, and is a ticketable offence.

emily.vance@pqbnews.com

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Unsecured dogs and driving don’t mix, say Oceanside RCMP. (Black Press file photo)