Jonathan Wright


People driving with dogs hanging out their windows: you know as well as I do that these are accidents waiting to happen, pure and simple.

Yet you see it all the time.

With all the other laws in place to discourage driver distraction, including prohibitions against texting and talking on the phone while operating a motor vehicle—why on earth is there nothing on the books regarding dogs on the driver’s lap and perched on the driver’s-side window? I wish I knew.

This is a no-brainer in my opinion.

Think about it. A dog is moving around freely on your lap while you’re trying to drive, putting his paws up on the sill of your open window. If the dog is very sizable at all, he inevitably blocks some of your view out your window, particularly that of your side-view mirror and even your peripheral vision.

As you make turns here and there, your dog naturally shifts his weight and therefore moves about. He can’t help it. And some of that movement is bound to distract you and obscure your vision as you’re driving.

Impairment? You know it is.

Unlike his human companions in the vehicle, dogs are not required to wear seatbelts, of course. Maybe they should be, or at least some type of restraining facility that would prevent the animal from movement at will or in an accident.

I can’t believe I’m even suggesting this. In this day of growing, out-of-control government regulation of our lives, we really don’t need another law that takes the place of good, oldfashioned common sense. I cringe at the thought, and I almost question my own good sense at suggesting it.

But I easily make an exception in this case. I’ve seen this problem way, way too often, and it’s a clear danger to other drivers, as it is with texting and talking on one’s phone.

Face it: any driver whose vision or attention is distracted—and it’s impossible to avoid this with a dog parked in front of you, getting in your way, and hanging out your window—is a danger to other drivers as well.

It could be that a law already exists for it. I would like to think so, and I would welcome a response educating me and others about

But I would also like to see evidence that it’s being enforced. So far I don’t.

Until it is, expect to see more of such driver-dog, accident-waiting-to-happen scenes around our area. You really don’t have to look far or long.

Beware those drivers at all costs—and drive defensively.


more recommended stories