A Florida legislator has proposed a bill that would restrict dogs’ movements inside vehicles.
Lauren Book, the Democratic leader in the Florida senate, proposed the restriction in a bill, SB 932, filed last week. The measure would have made it illegal to “allow a dog to extend its head or any other body part outside a motor vehicle window while the person is operating the motor vehicle on a public roadway”.
It also would make it illegal to hold a dog in one’s lap while driving and require that any dog being transported be restrained.
Anyone who violated those provisions would be subject to a non-criminal traffic infraction, the bill says.
I approve of this.
Whenever they traveled in our car, our dogs were always put in a harness that had a loop that the center rear seat belt would pass through. The reasons for this were two-fold. In the case of a crash, it would save the dog from being flung forward and the harness would spread the impact force over their bodies to lessen the pressure. The other reason was to prevent them from wandering around the car or even coming to the front seat and distracting the driver, something that has been the cause of crashes.
Our dogs did not seem to mind. In fact, they would get all excited when we took out the harness because they knew it meant a car ride. The dogs were able to move around somewhat on the back seat to get comfortable and also sleep but not far enough to stick their heads out of the window. We were very particular that all the people in our car fastened their seat belts too.
Denise Loving says
We do something very similar with our small dog. She normally rides in the back right seat, with the seatbelt fastened to hold a nylon strap that snaps to her harness. This also prevents her from jumping out when a door is opened.
So you want the cops to pull me over if I allow my dog to stick her head out the window to feel the the rush of air and to smell all the amazing scents? You know what? Allow me to make the risk vs reward decisions about my companion. The one I have dedicated and shared hours with every day over the last 13 years. The one who isn’t going to make it to 14. In the most friendly way possible, mind your own business.
John Morales says
marner, I’m rather more sympathetic to your stance than to Mano’s, in this case.
We’ve had a dog for over 40 years, never restrained, never an incident.
Each one was a Good Dog.
No jumping out of windows, no wandering about the car, no leaping out without permission.
(Also, doggy joy is joyous. Uninhibited happy happy, joy joy)
John Morales says
… but I suppose people without a Good Dog may need such restraints.
To be fair.
Legislators sure are having to look harder and harder for crumbs of risk to sweep up. I am reminded of the conversations we’ve had here a couple of years ago (?) about banning even hands-free phone conversation while driving. I wonder how far away we are from even the most ardent risk-hunting legislator saying ‘okay, the people can manage things from here.’
What a stupid provision.
First of all, if the bill passed as written, it would be deeply unpopular, and yet another “nanny state” talking point Republicans would parrot, and in this case they’d be right to do so.
It would also create yet another law for police to enforce selectively. You know there’s no way that police would flag down every passing SUV with a window down to gently remind its occupants about safety restraints. It’s a law that would be leveraged against the poor and the brown, and it would give police an excuse to pull over a “suspicious” vehicle when they can’t be bothered to find a broken tail light.
It’s all well and good if your dog does well in a car harness, but that’s not every dog. Some dogs get very nervous in cars, and that can get out of control if the dog is also restrained. Some dogs really need an open window in a car, and won’t stop barking if they feel boxed in. What works for one dog may result in a worse distraction with another.
People should take steps to minimize the distraction of transporting a pet, but this law is not it. It is much too prescriptive.
Thankfully the bill has no chance of getting passed without that provision getting removed.
John Morales says
Yeah. Knowing people, very many would put the dog on a short leash on the collar were this enforced. Which would be kinda doomish for the pooch should sudden deceleration occur, since all the force would be transferred to the neck.
@ 3 John Morales
Yeah I’m sure they’ll be totally joyous as they go sailing through the windscreen and splatter against the the concrete you utter piece of shit.
Also, in memoriam, Baxter the Wonder Dog, who was fortunate to have a human who actually gave a shit if he lived or died.
John Morales says
Ever heard of it happening?
But sure, a short lead hooked onto the center seatbelt fixture on the back to ensure the dog can’t get to the windows and won’t go sailing off through the windscreen, since its neck vertebrae will probably be solid enough to prevent decapitation. So desirable!
(Did you note the proposed legislation did not specify a harness?)
You know, if the dog were never in a car it would never be in an accident nor jump out of a window, so there’s a law you’d presumably like.
Heck, keep them in a small box, they can’t get into any trouble then.
You have absolutely no idea; my dogs have always been and always will be family. And none of them were flung through any windows.
Why you try so hard to be nasty to me and attribute the worst to me is best left to a psychologist to nut out, but it’s not serving you well here.
(Ah well, you do reveal your character thereby)
chigau (違う) says
If you let your dog stick its face out the window at 100 kph, you should probably get it some goggles.
sbob, objecting to this law means not giving a shit if dogs live or die in your mind? There seems to be a tiny bit of an excluded middle in your reasoning and also skull.
Depending on the size of the dog it could not just hit the windscreen, but also break the neck of anyone in the front seat on the way. I have had German Shepherds and depending on the dog/car they have either had a harness attached to a backseat seat belt or been in the back of the estate cars with a suitable dog resistant barrier. Because I worked in Road Safety at one point I know that before back seatbelt use was mandatory people in front seats did get injured and killed by people and things in back seats flying forward in the event of accidents. There was a classic example in the UK of two retired couples going on holiday together, husbands in the front, wives in the back, accident happpens and both wives fly forward with enough force to break their husbands necks killing them; the accident happened at a speed which would have been surviveable for all had the wives been belted in, and they did survive knowing they had killed their husbands. Obviously the lighter a dog is the less danger there is, but it is still there. This law is not well written, but anything lose in cars can injure passengers if an accident happens, so maybe think about that when your dogs or whatever are loose in your car.
Mano Singham says
We should focus less on how good the dog is and more on the physics involved.
In the event of a crash, any object not tethered to the vehicle (and that includes humans and dogs) becomes a projectile moving with the speed the vehicle had just prior to the collision. A 30 lb dog traveling at 50 mph carries with it an enormous amount of momentum, enough to be lethal to anyone that it collides with. Furthermore, the sudden loss of its momentum due to the dog hitting a hard object will deliver a huge impulsive force to the dog that can cause serious organ damage, broken bones, and death.
All dogs are good dogs. It’s the humans who are endangering themselves and the dog if they get into an accident.
Mine were large breeds, and they adored going on car rides. They rode in the back of the vehicle, with windows open enough for them to enjoy the scented wind, and a crash barrier to prevent them flying forward into my children in their car seats or the seat belted adults.
John Morales says
On the physics side of it, sure, it doesn’t matter, other than the point I made that if that’s going to be the reason, then affixing the restraint to the neck is not gonna save the dog.
But what I wrote was “No jumping out of windows, no wandering about the car, no leaping out without permission.” In that case, it does matter.
Mano Singham says
John Morales @#17,
Affixing a restraint to the dog’s neck or collar is a terrible idea.
What I was writing about was a harness that wraps itself around the body of the dog so that in the event of a crash, the force is spread over much of the body, thus lowering the risk of harm. The car’s seat belt is attached to the harness.
WMDKitty -- Survivor says
Typical John, can’t comprehend what he’s read so he turns it into an argument.
John Morales says
No, I got that, Mano.
Thus, @7: “Knowing people, very many would put the dog on a short leash on the collar were this enforced.”, and @11 “(Did you note the proposed legislation did not specify a harness?)”.
WMDKitty, I think it is you who does not comprehend the degree of my comprehension. Did you notice the proposed legislation required, as Mano put it, to “restrict dogs’ movements inside vehicles”? It was all about the windows.
Again, I know people sufficiently well to be rather cynical about the prospect that most would acquire a proper harness for that purpose.
Drove a couple of hundred miles today. Miraculously, both dog and driver somehow came out of it unscathed. Your Nanny state was unneeded.
@ ^ marner
Can’t argue with that folks. Apparently, if the reduction in the death toll is not literally 100% to zero, then it’s pointless. How we cower before such unassailable logic.
Did you know marner that the odds of blowing your brains out with a six shooter in Russian roulette are only one in six? So go for it! I mean others have survived so what could possibly be the problem you ludicrous fucking muppet?
^ You might think it crazy, but at some point, risk reduction ceases to be justified.
Got it. Ignore the dickhead who suggests suicide to make their points.
Yes, absolutely, but its not just that. Mano is also calling to force compliance by using armed men and women to compel this particular risk reduction.
Mano Singham says
marner @#21&25 and Holms @#23,
Surely the statement (#25) that I am “calling to force compliance by using armed men and women to compel this particular risk reduction” is a little hyperbolic? After all, police routinely enforce other safety regulations like wearing seat belts or other infractions such as parking violations. It is always possible that some police may abuse this law to make unjustified stops but that danger is always present with any regulation.
I am not sure why the requirement that dogs be safely restrained in cars is considered to be any different from seat belt laws designed to protect humans. Are you arguing that our dogs are not deserving of the kinds of protections humans have in the event of crashes? Or are you arguing against seat belts for humans too? What about laws requiring special car seats for infants, toddlers, and young children? Are those different from harnesses for dogs? If so, how? Or should they not exist too? When does “risk reduction cease
sto be justified”? (#23)
I recall how when laws mandating seat belt use were first introduced, there were similar cries of government over-reach and ‘nanny state’. Those protests have largely disappeared though there are some people who still ignore the laws.
Society recognizes that our pets have some rights and that we do not have absolute power over them and are required to treat them humanely. That is why there are laws to prevent cruelty to animals. One could argue that those laws too require “force compliance by using armed men and women” and thus should not exist. Would you argue thus?
We cannot make the risks zero. But a harness for dogs is a relatively simple way to substantially reduce the risk to them in the event of a crash. It took us about a minute to slip them into it and buckle them into the car but it increased our peace of mind immensely.
The TLDR is that we have different levels of risk aversion and reward and, in this case, I do not think government should compel me to match yours.
Of course I am exaggerating for effect. After all, I am a older white guy who knows how to play the worm. And my dog is not going to be threatening to anyone. Pretty likely that I’ll be safe. But surely you’re not calling for a special unarmed task force specializing in dogs sticking their heads out the window are you? Maybe to justify the expense we could check vaccination records while their at it. Maybe add a special animal rider to auto insurance?
Are you arguing that we should have special airbags installed that fit the dogs size and weight? I am arguing that it’s none of your business if I decide that the joy my dog gets being able to stick her head out the window is greater than the risk of serious harm in an accident. You don’t know how I drive or when I allow her to do it. So yes, a dogs needs and protections do not match a 2 year old’s humans. Is that really so hard to accept? It snowed a bit today and I actually allowed her to walk in the snow without shoes!
I am actually iffy on requiring an adult to buckle up. l largely don’t want government involved in personal risk decisions, but there could be significant harm to society in general if we have to pay (and to be clear, we should all have universal healthcare) to help someone recover from serious injury. So in my mind the harm to personal liberty is justified. Maybe you would like universal health care for dogs, too? It would be really nice to have someone help pay my vet bill.
When it comes to seatbelt laws, I admit to still being slightly irritated that when seatbelt laws were passed in my state in 1986, we were promised that it would always remain a secondary offense. 17 years later it became a primary offense. Yes, I can hold a grudge. Get off my lawn.
This is really what it comes down to isn’t it? Your level of risk aversion is different than mine and you want to use the arm of the law to make me comply.
But, to be fair, you make some good points and I will look to see if she is comfortable (she’s 13, highly arthritic and doesn’t really have a lot of time left) in a harness when I plan on traveling at high speeds. I still don’t want to make it compulsory, however.
Mano Singham says
I understand what you are saying but my point is that this has little to do with how good a driver you are or how well-behaved your dog is. The question is that you cannot avoid the laws of physics, as I said in #15. Good drivers are involved in accidents through no fault of their own. Airbags, seat belts, and dog harnesses protect all users.
While you may be willing to risk harm to yourself because you feel wearing a seat belt infringes on your personal liberty, in this case we are not talking about someone taking a decision that affects just themselves, but on behalf of another (in this case a dog) who cannot express a preference. I feel justified in taking extra precautions in such cases, just as I insisted to my children that they had to sit in the special car seats and be belted up. I wanted to minimize the risk of injuries or death to them, even if I was not responsible for an accident.
Now that they are adults, my children can make their own judgments as to what safety measures they wish to adopt. I am glad that they are conscientious about safety in all areas of their lives.
John Morales says
Thing is, there’s no impediment if one chooses to do that, just because it’s not mandated by legislation.
This is what was quoted in the OP:
“The measure would have made it illegal to “allow a dog to extend its head or any other body part outside a motor vehicle window while the person is operating the motor vehicle on a public roadway”.”
Nothing there about safety harnesses in the event of a crash.
In fact, one could comply by merely having the windows closed.
You could argue that my dog cannot offer informed consent to put her head out the window, but to say that she cannot express a preference is silly.
In fairness, it does not specify use of a harness.
Contrary to what some of you appear to believe, we don’t normally go out onto the roads in a motor vehicle with the intention of being in a collision (I for one). These events are normally called accidents. As accidents they occur randomly, and most often are the result of driver inattention (to the vehicle, road, or conditions). Most journeys in motor vehicles do not include one so yes your unrestrained dog may well enjoy a daily ride for 14 years or more and die of age related disease. But that is equally accidental.