Brits who are thinking of embarking on a Bank Holiday tour with their dog have been urged to make sure they are driving their pet safely – otherwise they could be breaking the law and face a fine of up to £5,000.

The warning came after a study that was conducted by IAM RoadSmart – the largest independent road safety charity in the UK – found 42% of dog owners will have their pet in an unsafe place when they’re driving the car.

Of this 42%, more than a third said their canine companion is unrestrained, either in the back seat, passenger seat, footwell or in the boot.

While a further eight per cent restrain their dog in the passenger seat, this could still prove disastrous in the case of a collision, should the airbag be activated.

The Highway Code says dogs need to be appropriately restrained when they are travelling in a car, to prevent them from distracting the driver or causing injury.

Failing to follow this could lead to a fine of up to £1,000 for driving without having “proper control, if their pet distracts them”. However, this could then be increased to driving without due care and attention, which has a maximum fine of £5,000 and could also result in nine penalty points if the case went to court.

Insurers would also be unlikely to pay out should an accident occur for driving without proper control too, which could mean a hefty repair bill.

Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart, commented: “Motorists can restrain their pets by using a dog crate, dog harness or a dog guard for the car’s boot. This ensures dogs are not allowed to roam free inside the car, removing any chance of drivers getting into hot water with the law. A loose pet also becomes a lethal projective in the event of a sudden crash.”

“Dogs are a loved and valued member of the family in millions of households up and down the country, meaning their safety when travelling should be thought about in the same way as the safety of all passengers in your vehicle.”

If you’re looking for somewhere to go with your pet, be sure to check out our guide to dog friendly caravan parks

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