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Keeping our pets safe in the car

In the same way we wear seat belts in the car, our pets also need to be restrained.

This is an important safety measure to avoid distracting the driver, the animal escaping, or being propelled in a crash, all of which can cause serious injuries or death.  

There are laws around restraining dogs in cars in Tasmania. The Dog Control Act states a dog must be restrained when travelling in a vehicle. The Tasmanian Road Rules state a person must not drive a vehicle if an animal is on their lap. Furthermore, the Animal Welfare (Dogs) Regulations state that if a dog is on the back of a vehicle or trailer, it must be tethered or restrained to prevent it falling or hanging off the side, and dogs must wear a harness to protect them on the road.  

In Tasmania, there are fines of $168 for not restraining a pet effectively.  

According to the RSPCA, car harnesses are widely available. Owners should take their pet’s measurements before buying the harness to determine the correct fit.  

Transport pet carriers are another option. They must be secured in the vehicle, have good ventilation, and must allow the animal to lie down, turn around, stand, sit and stretch out comfortably.  

The RSPCA adds that animals should be restrained in the back seat of a car, as pets can be injured or killed if the front passenger airbag is deployed in a crash. Pets can also be restrained behind the cargo barrier in a station wagon. 

If transporting a dog in the tray of a ute, owners must ensure the length of the tether is short enough to be safe, consider the weather conditions, provide shelter for the animal, and remove or secure loose items in the tray with the dog.  

Please check with your local road rules, police or RSPCA for more information.