When Cruising with Your Best Friend, Make Sure Fido Buckles Up

English: A cat on a car.

English: A cat on a car. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is lots of talk in New Jersey lately about distracted driving. Most of those discussions revolve around talking and/or texting on cell phones while behind the wheel. There is another form of distracted driving that New Jerseyans — pet lovers in particular — should be aware of. If you have issues or questions regarding distracted driving violations, particularly in Hunterdon County, the personal injury lawyers at Ragland Law Firm in Lebanon can be of assistance.

There is a law on the books in New Jersey that grants both police and animal control officers the right to ticket drivers whose animals are not restrained while riding in their cars or trucks. Violators can be fined between $250 and $1,000 for each offense, plus possible jail time. (1)

The New Jersey Statute views not restraining your pet in a motor vehicle as an act of animal cruelty. There are many instances in which animals can be hurt or cause additional damage in even a minor accident. For instance:

• unrestrained animals can become projectiles in collisions;
• animals riding in the front seat can be injured or killed by airbag deployment;

• unrestrained animals can run from the car while emergency medical personnel tend to other accident victims, causing additional roadway hazards. (1)

The statute applies to all animals riding in a motor vehicle, particularly dogs and cats. While dogs can be restrained with a special harness that works with the vehicle’s seat belt mechanism, cats are a different story. They should be contained in carriers which, in turn, can be secured with the vehicle’s seat belt system. (2)

If you or someone you know needs assistance with a distracted driving violation in Hunterdon County, contact the personal injury attorneys at Ragland Law Firm located in Lebanon, N.J., which is in close proximity to both Clinton and Flemington.

(1) http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/state/pet-freedom-takes-a-back-seat-to-new-seat-belt-laws

(2) http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57447059-504083/dogs-n-cats-better-buckle-up-in-n.j/

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