How your dog could cost you your driving licence or land you a £5,000 fine

woman in car while cute jack russell dog standing on window. Travel and pets

Motorists need to be aware of the one driving law that could see them slapped with a £5,000 fine – or worse, banned from driving.

In February 2024, the total estimated fully registered driving licences within the UK was at 46,120,966. As well as that, Gocompare conducted a survey that discovered 55% of drivers don’t keep up to date with the highway code which suggests that many motorists may be unfamiliar with certain laws such as driving with dogs. They can, therefore, be naively breaking the law without knowing. One such law obliges drivers to not allow their dogs to hang their heads out of the car window, and doing so can be costly.

According to used car buying service ChooseMyCar.com, one rule of the Highway Code means that drivers who don’t adequately restrain their pet while driving could land in hot water.

By allowing your pet to hang their head outside of a vehicle demonstrates the fact that the animal is not properly secured to the car, according to the Highway Code.

Not only is this dangerous, but it is also likely to result in the driver being pulled over.

Founder of ChooseMyCar.com, Nick Zapolski, has urged Brits to restrain their pooches properly when going on any journey, no matter how short it is.

Rule 57 of the Highway Code clearly states that: “When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves if you stop quickly.

“A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of safely restraining animals in cars.”

And if a driver is stopped and found not to be following this guidance, they can face a series of fines.

Drivers can be slapped with an on-the-spot fine of a maximum of £5,000.

They can also incur up to nine points on their license, or worst of all, they can even be given a full driving ban – meaning they will have to do a compulsory re-test to get their license back.

He added that many drivers are not aware of Rule 57 and are therefore vulnerable to losing their licence.

Mr Zapolski said: “It always raises a smile when you see a happy dog with its head hanging out the window, ears flopping in the wind, but it’s an obvious way to demonstrate that you aren’t following Rule 57 – and that could cost you your licence.

“And it’s not just that – in the event of an accident, an unrestrained dog could do serious damage to itself and the people in the car.

“It’s cheap and simple to get a seatbelt for your dog or a dog guard for the boot – and can save a lot of heartache.”

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