Ward Room
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Bill Aims to Keep Pooches Out of Driver's Seat

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    If you’re driving with a pooch for a co-captain you might want to be careful.

    A proposed Illinois bill would make it illegal for drivers to have their animals in their laps while driving.

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    The bill, sponsored by Rep. Daniel Burke and Rep. Daniel Beiser, would fine drivers $25 if caught with a pet behind the wheel, though motorists can’t be pulled over solely for having an animal in their lap.

    And driving with pooches in the driver's seat is apparently not uncommon.

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    A 2010 AAA survey indicates that 56 percent dog owners bring their dogs on car rides at least once a month. The study also indicated that 17 percent of those drivers allow their dogs on their lap while driving. Drivers also admitted to engage in activities such as petting their dog behind the wheel, snapping photos of their pup or feeding and giving treats while driving.

    “Drivers should use a pet restraint system for your dog every time their pet is in the vehicle,” Jennifer Huebner-Davidson, AAA National, Traffic Safety Programs manager said in a statement. “A restraint like those offered by Kurgo will not only limit distractions, but also protect you, your pet and other passengers in the event of a crash or sudden stop.”

    But the bill is reportedly facing overwhelming opposition as it heads to the House floor, most likely because of more serious issues on the table, Burke told DNAinfo.com.

    New Jersey and Hawaii currently have laws against putting man’s best friend behind the wheel, and distracted driver laws in other states can reportedly be used to prosecute the violation.