New Jersey set to force DOGS to wear seatbelts
A New Jersey lawmaker has proposed a legislation that would require motorists either to put their four-legged friends in a crate or secure them with a seatbelt inside a car while driving. Motorists found in violation of the law sponsored by Assemblywoman Grace Spencer would be fined $20 and possible face an animal cruelty charge, which carries a civil penalty of $250-$1,000. According to advocates of the law, it would help reduce distracting driving and increase pet safety, becoming the toughest such legislation in the nation. ‘If that pet is roaming freely in the vehicle, that is a distraction for the driver, but it’s also very unsafe for the pet itself,’ Motor Vehicle Department official Ray Martinez told radio station New Jersey 101.5 FM. When driving 35 mph, a 60-pound unrestrained dog can cause an impact of 2,700 pounds, slamming into a car seat, windshield, or passenger, according to Bark Buckle Up, a San Diego-based non-profit group that educates drivers about safely transporting pets in vehicles. The issue of proper transport of animals was thrust into the spotlight earlier this year when officials from the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said that drivers should face animal cruelty charges if they failed to restrain their dogs and cats.