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You Can Bring Your Dog, Just Don’t Pet Him

You Can Bring Your Dog, Just Don't Pet Him

Florida is known for having some of the strangest laws on the books, but this new traffic law just might make sense. In an effort to crack down on distracted driving, Florida legislators are trying to pass a new law that would make it illegal to pet or hold your dog while driving. While the bill doesn’t focus entirely on pets, most of the bill does. It might seem strange, but the statistics regarding how many people play with their pets while traveling might actually support a pet inclusion to the distracted driving law.

The Statistics on Petting and Driving

In 2011, the Automobile Association of America (AAA) conducted a study to see just how much of a distraction pets could be. The results were that 52% of respondents say that they pet their dog while driving, and 17% say they let their dogs sit on their laps while driving a car. In addition, 29% openly admitted that their pets caused a distraction while they were driving their car. If half of pet owners are dealing with their dog while they’re driving, it’s no wonder that Florida is concerned that this could significantly add to the distracted driving problem.

It’s Not Just Florida

Florida isn’t the only state cracking down on pets as a form of distracted driving. In Ohio, a new 2018 ruling states that you can’t pet an animal or have them sit on your lap while you drive. In fact, the Ohio law goes further, saying that you can have your pet with you, but you cannot allow your pet to be a distraction in any way. Other states have followed suit, as well, recognizing an ever-growing problem of pets acting as distractions while drivers should be focused on the road.

It’s Not Just Dogs

Florida isn’t just picking on pets, though. There are numerous other forms of distractions that are included in the bill. If it passes, applying makeup or other beauty products, reading, writing, and various other activities would also be illegal if you’re trying to do them while driving a car. Florida hopes that its laws, which are rather outdated where distracted driving is concerned, will benefit from this upgrade and help keep people safer on the roads.

Texting as a Primary Offense

Finally, Florida is one of the only states in the nation where texting is still a secondary offense. What that means is that a police officer can’t pull you over just for texting. Instead, they can only write you up for texting if they were able to pull you over for another reason, such as having a burnt out tail light or speeding. The fact that texting is not already a primary offense has many people in Florida shaking their heads, and most people seem supportive of a law that will improve safety on the roads and allow officers more freedom to take action when they observe dangerous driving habits.

Distracted driving is a serious issue, and getting a ticket for it can cause you a lot of trouble. You can end up having to pay increased insurance fees, deal with points against your license, and pay fees for the ticket itself. It’s important to keep your driving record clean, so if you’ve been accused of or charged with distracted driving in Florida, make sure to contact an experienced Florida traffic attorney right away. Don’t navigate the legal waters alone or pay the ticket just to get it over with. Once you pay, you’ve admitted guilt, so it’s harder, if not impossible, to defend yourself. Instead, turn to a reputable and experienced Florida traffic lawyer right away so you can obtain the best possible outcome.


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