Letter: ‘Animal lovers’ should keep pets safe while driving

Editor,

It was very interesting to read the statistics around “distracted driving” and the inclusion of pets in the study.

There is not one day, while I am driving, that I don’t come across a driver with a pet in their lap, a pet looking over their shoulder, a pet lunging from the back seat to the front seat or a pet leaning perilously out the back window.

Why are these “animal lovers” allowed to permit their pets to roam freely throughout the vehicle — they should be ticketed and fined as much as a driver texting or talking on a mobile phone.

The damage that a pet can do flying through the air in an emergency stop or the damage that be done to the pet by an airbag deploying while it is in someone’s lap makes one wonder about how these drivers can be considered “animal lovers?”

There are many restraints available to secure the pet or a portable kennel to the seat belt system in the back seat to keep these “family members” safe.

As with mobile devices, people will only change their routine once they start receiving violations and fines. The present fine for a single distracted driving violation ticket is $368, along with four penalty points that will be applied a driver’s record. On a first infraction, these points will also result in a driver paying a further $175 ICBC Driver Penalty Point premium, for a total of $543 for a first infraction.

That will get their attention and save some lives — both human and canine.

Wayne Mercer

Parksville, B.C.

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