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Is it illegal to have a pet in your lap while driving? | VERIFY

When you think of driving distractions, your pet isn't the first thing that comes to mind. Yet, it's a valid question that drivers should definitely think about.

ARKANSAS, USA — When you think of distracted or careless driving, the first thing you think of is texting or using your smart phone. 

But an unusual question came in to our VERIFY email this month. It's a simple question, but no one in the newsroom knew the answer. 

Viewer Cliff Welch reached out to ask: 

"Is it illegal to have a pet in your lap while driving?"

It is Arkansas after all! There's rarely a day we don't see a dog with its head out the window of a car or even in a driver's lap. 

Would you--or could you--legitimately get a ticket for it, though?

We reached out to Arkansas State Police and they verified that driving with a pet in your lap is not illegal, but police go on to say:

"There are laws requiring the driver to maintain safe control of the vehicle, maintain a clear field of vision outside the vehicle, in other words no obstructions, and the prohibition of distracted driving." 

They also added that a pet has the potential to cause the driver to violate a motor vehicle law.  

So, what's their advice? 

If you're transporting a pet, secure the animal in a safe area of the passenger compartment, so as to avoid potential danger.  

Thank you, Cliff, for emailing us.

If you have something you'd like us to verify, email verify@thv11.com or reach out to us through social media. 

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