California bill moves to governor; would ban pets on drivers’ laps

| 9/3/2008

The California Legislature has approved a bill that is intended to encourage pet lovers to keep their animals off their laps while at the wheel.

Current state law prohibits people from driving with their view obstructed or if there is interference with their control of the vehicle. There is no limitation that prevents pets from roaming freely in vehicles.

The Assembly signed off on Senate changes to a measure – AB2233 – that would prohibit people from driving while holding a live animal in their arms or lap. The vote cleared the way for the bill to advance to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk.

Sponsored by Assemblyman Bill Maze, R-Visalia, the bill would fine violators between $35 and $100.

Supporters say that keeping pets restrained in back seats will help keep them safe. If left free to roam throughout a vehicle, a pet can be become “a deadly projectile” during sudden stops or crashes, they say.

Others say that pets can become a distraction that put drivers and their passengers at risk.

Opponents say that government shouldn’t dictate who can sit on drivers’ laps.

To view other legislative activities of interest for California in 2008, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor