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Dogs, Michigan, Driving and the Law

Taking The Wheel
Getty Images by Fox Photos

Michigan State Representative LaTanya Garrett, D-Detroit, has introduced a bill which would make it illegal for Michigan Drivers to drive a vehicle with a dog on their lap.

House Bill 5277 states:

An individual shall not operate a motor vehicle while a dog is sitting in his or her lap

There is a caveat in the bill that states if there is a medical purpose under the Americans with Disabilities act, the driver would be allowed to have the dog on their lap while driving.

Question I have is what purpose would make it ok to drive with a dog on your lap.

If you are caught driving with a dog on your lap the fine would be $100 for the first offense and $200 for each consecutive offense.

I can hear the excuses already, he or she jumped in my lap at about the time that you saw me officer.  The interesting part of that excuse is it could actually be true.

State Representative Garret was quoted in a Mlive article stating:

This is about making sure Michigan drivers are safe.  It’s just too much going on when a driver really needs to be focused on the road. Two seconds of being distracted can cost lives, it can be very fatal

I believe Ms. Garrett might be on to something here, we have enough distractions already when we drive and I certainly do not want to be hit or a loved one of mine to be hit because someone drives with their dog on their lap.

There might already be a law that is supposed to cover this situation, according to Michigan State Police spokesperson Shanon Banner, current law prohibits the carrying of a live animal:

in or upon a vehicle without providing a secure space, rack, car, crate, or cage, in which livestock may stand, and in which all other animals may stand, turn around, and lie down during transportation.

It appears that there is some ambiguity in that law, Ms, Banner stated:

 “However, the term ‘secure space’ is not specifically defined by the statute or a prior binding court case, so it would be up to local prosecuting officials to determine whether a particular violation has occurred

I ask you, should there be a law against dogs sitting in your lap while driving and why limit it to just dog’s, how about cats?

The Live with Renk show airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon, to let me know your thoughts call (269) 441-9595

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