By ensuring your furry friends are safe and secure you will help make the trip safer and more comfortable for everyone in the car. Pets are often the forgotten family member when it comes to car safety – with tragic consequences for all. The NRMA crash test confirmed a fact that few drivers realise; even at a collision at low speed, an unrestrained pet, sitting in the back seat, can become a dangerous projectile. At 40km/h, an airborne dog can develop projection forces equaling 40 times its weight. For example, a German Shepherd weighing 35 kilos can impact with a force of 1,400 kilos – ouch!
The Police can fine a driver and issue demerit points if an animal is causing the driver to be not in full control of the vehicle, or if they are driving with a dog on their lap.
The penalties are three demerit points and $425 (more in a school zone).
– A driver must not drive with an animal in the driver’s lap.
– A motorcycle rider must not ride with an animal between the handlebars and the rider.
– Animals should be seated or housed in an appropriate area of the vehicle.
– Dogs on utes should be restrained either via a tether or cage so that the dog cannot fall off or be injured when the vehicle moves.
– A driver, motorcycle rider, bicycle rider or passenger must not lead an animal, while the vehicle is moving.
(info http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/roads/safety-rules/road-rules/animals – http://kb.rspca.org.au/Do-I-need-to-restrain-my-dog-when-travelling-in-my-car_303)
The RSPCA can also issue fines under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. If an animal is injured because it was unrestrained, owners face up to six months’ jail and fines of up to $5,500. Carrying dogs untethered on the backs of utes can land drivers with fines of $500.
Rules, demerit points and fines may differ slightly between states. To find out what rules apply in your state or territory, contact your state or territory transport department.
We all love our dogs and cat, so look after them and restrain them when travelling!
The “Step- In” style harness from Australian company Black Dog Wear is extremely easy to fit, fully adjustable, comfortable and strong. Can be used for walking – particularly useful for dogs with neck, or throat issues. Can be used in a car to restrict a dog moving around and becoming a distraction to the driver. When combined with Black Dog’s Car Strap (sold separately), the Dog Harness will hold a dog steady even under emergency braking from a high speed, but it is NOT INTENDED as a dog’s “safety belt”.
What about my cat?
Cats don’t always make the best passengers and the last thing you want is a set of claws in your back as you drive, right?
Always make sure your puss is comfortable, this will make your life much easier!
Plan your journey, make sure you have a:
- A suitable sized pet carrier
- light sheet to cover the carrier, to help make your cat feel safe
- small disposable litter tray to place into the carrier
- food and water bowl.
Is it legal to have unrestrained dogs on ute trays or trucks?
As outlined in the table below, legislation in most states and territories specifically prohibit people from transporting dogs unrestrained on the back of utes or other open vehicles or trailers. In those states in which it is not specifically prohibited (i.e. Qld and WA), it is still an offence to transport an animal in a way that is likely to cause the animal harm or is otherwise inappropriate for the animal’s welfare.
RSPCA Australia advises people to ensure their dog’s restraint is long enough to allow him to stand and lie down, but not so long that he could jump or fall over the edge of the moving vehicle. Use swivels to attach the restraint to both the vehicle and the dog’s collar to prevent the chain from tangling.
Also, remember not to drive with your dog in the tray of the ute if he is going to be exposed to extreme weather conditions. Ute trays can get very hot in the sun and dogs can burn their footpads so please take precautions to protect your pet.
Consider purchasing a safety-belt restraint so that you can drive with your dog in the cabin of your ute where he is safer, especially in the case of an accident.
ACT – No
Section 15A of the Animal Welfare Act 1992 prohibits a person from carrying a dog in or on a moving vehicle if the dog is not restrained or enclosed in a way that prevents the dog from falling or jumping from the vehicle.
NSW – No
Section 7 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 prohibits a person from carrying a dog on the open back of a vehicle unless the dog is restrained or enclosed in such a way as to prevent the dog falling from the vehicle.
NT – Yes
The provision which prohibited transporting a dog unrestrained on a vehicle was removed from the Animal Welfare Act in 2013.
Qld – No
Queensland legislation does not specifically address the transportation of unrestrained dogs, however, s.18(2)(f)(iii) of the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 prohibits a person from transporting an animal in a way that is inappropriate for the animal’s welfare.
SA – No
Section 45 of the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 prohibits a person from transporting a dog on an open tray of a vehicle unless the dog is enclosed or restrained in a way that prevents the dog from falling or escaping from the vehicle.
Tas – No
Section 16(3) of the Dog Control Act 2000 requires a person in charge of a dog in or on a vehicle to restrict the dog sufficiently to prevent the dog from leaving the vehicle.
Vic – No
Section 15A of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 prohibits a person from transporting a dog in or on a tray or trailer unless the dog is secured in such a way as to prevent the dog from falling off or being injured from the movement of the vehicle or trailer.
WA – No
Western Australian legislation does not specifically address the transportation of unrestrained dogs, however, s.19(3)(a) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002 prohibits a person from transporting an animal in a way that is likely to cause that animal unnecessary harm.
This website provides general information which must not be relied upon or regarded as a substitute for specific professional advice, including veterinary advice. We make no warranties that the website is accurate or suitable for a person’s unique circumstances and provide the website on the basis that all persons accessing the website responsibly assess the relevance and accuracy of its content.
Article ID: 501
Last updated: 21 Apr, 2017
Miscellaneous -> Is it legal to have unrestrained dogs on ute trays or trucks?