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Ask a Trooper: Can I Drive With My Dog in My Lap?

Washington State Patrol District 1 spokesperson and recruiter Guy Gill answers your questions about the rules of the road.

Q: Can I drive with my dog in my lap?

A: The dog can be inside the vehicle with you, as long as you are not distracted. If you allow your dog to be free in the cab and that dog interferes with handling your vehicle, we have a problem.

If you’re pulled over for leaving the lane of travel or erratic driving, you could be subject to a negligent driving ticket, which is $525.

I’d say that driving with a dog in your lap is not a good idea.

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Trooper Guy Gill is the Washington State Patrol recruiter and spokesman for District 1, covering Pierce and Thurston counties. Follow him at @wspd1pio on Twitter. 

What have you always wanted to ask a state patrol officer? Tell us in the comments. 

Lance Orloff January 26, 2013 at 11:27 PM
Gee, lots of good questions that are directed at Trooper Guy Gill. No Answers. Trooper Guy Gill is kind of a bust when it comes to follow through. Is there a Trooper Guy Gill? I did a google image search on Trooper Guy Gill. https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&sugexp=les%3B&gs_rn=1&gs_ri=hp&gs_mss=trooper+guy&tok=TRZIQ1usGXbN_XI1jMWW5A&cp=12&gs_id=1a&xhr=t&q=trooper+guy+gill&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.41524429,d.cGE&biw=1192&bih=523&wrapid=tljp1359242583013022&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=UGUEUZ25AaGriAKWo4CwCQ#imgrc=_ ...It pulled a few images of cops. It also pulled an image of a bikini babe in the snow and a dog with it's head up the butt of another dog. I would like to see answers from a real trooper to some of these questions but if not, then is the dog picture: http://www.dvorak.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/lapdog_media1.jpg ... is just as valid.
John L Peterson January 27, 2013 at 06:45 AM
My Alaskan Malamute is hardly a lap dog like the dog pictured. Because of her size, I went to a pet store and purchased a harness that is designed to let me to seat belt her in place much as one would a child. I am safer, she is safer, and the general public is safer. Years ago I had bought one for my big Malamute male (225# of muscle) and he loved sitting on the seat watching the world go by as we went down the highway. His harness was too big for my current smaller female, so I purchased one that would fit her. These types of harnesses seemed to be available for most sized dogs. and I encourage their use, It may save lives both human, and those of your pets.
Lauren Padgett January 27, 2013 at 08:27 PM
Trooper Guy Gill is a busy man! We have worked out a system with him where he answers reader questions and we post them, but he probably won't be participating in the discussion thread here. However, we are reading the questions and documenting them to send to him. If you want to reach him directly, you can follow him on twitter at @wspd1pio. He answers reader questions there, too! (I have also attached a photo of him to this article to prove he does, in fact, exist!)
Carla Ritchie January 28, 2013 at 09:53 PM
There are various harnesses out there - this site tested a few of them http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/7/prweb9672761.htm
cR January 29, 2013 at 06:21 AM
No-one should drive with pets in there lap, nor should anyone text and drive. Both are distractions. And for the people who are stupid enough to do it need to get the hell off the road, because your only endangering yourself and everyone else on the road. Why does a question like this even have to be asked? If you drive a car, you should know damn well a dog in your lap is a distraction. And if you didn't know that, then stay home and never drive again. Because at some point you'll just find yourself wrecking into someone or something.

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