When travelling with your pets, their safety should be paramount so it’s important to secure them properly in the back of your car.
Some people try to tie their pet's lead or collar to a secure fixture in the car however, this is an illegal act that can be punished with fines if you are caught out.
Surprisingly, others have also tried to lead their pet from their vehicle, but this could put everyone in the vehicle and your pet at risk.
So, just what are the rules for transporting your beloved pet?
Leading by example
No matter where you go in Australia, securing your animal in a vehicle by their lead or tethering them to a fixed mounting is deemed an illegal act.
It’s covered in the Australian Road Rules, with Rule 301, which has been adopted universally in all states, stating: "The driver must not lead an animal, including by tethering it to a motor vehicle".
The rule is expanded further as it covers all responsible occupants of a vehicle, meaning that passengers are just as liable to a penalty as a driver if they are caught leading an animal whilst the car is in motion.
With everyone responsible for the welfare of animals within a vehicle, it is only fair that the associating penalties can be applied to everyone caught in the act too.
An expensive error
As the rule can be applied to both drivers and passengers, offenders won’t have to worry about demerit points being added to their licence.
However, there are plenty of financial penalties looming on the horizon for any offenders caught breaking the laws. If you are caught breaking Rule 301, the penalties are:
VIC: A $182 fine for anyone caught leading an animal in a vehicle regardless of their role.
NSW: A minor infringement of $78 for anyone found leading animals in their vehicle.
QLD: A fine of $137 for anyone found guilty of leading or tethering an animal whilst in motion.
SA: It’s a combined fine of $205 for any offending parties when SA’s Victim of Crimes Levy is applied to the initial fine.
TAS: Anyone caught leading an animal whilst in a vehicle across Tasmania faces a fine of $130.
ACT: Offenders in the ACT face a penalty of $154 for leading an animal whilst in a vehicle.
The rules vary in some of Australia’s more rural states when leading an animal.
In the Northern Territory, the offence can be punished as a general offence which comes with a minimum $157 fine or the equivalent of one penalty unit.
In WA, there are no distinct penalties for specifically leading an animal from a vehicle.
Drivers can be punished for having their animal distract you or ride in your lap where the penalty is $100 and one demerit point added to your licence.
Therefore, securing your animal properly and safely is highly recommended.
Safety is paramount
Whilst the penalties for leading an animal in a moving vehicle may seem minor, they could increase significantly should it be proven the animal was deliberately put in danger.
Both state police and the RSPCA can investigate and charge offenders if the act was deemed as animal cruelty and those penalties can extend anywhere from substantial fines to even prison sentences.
When travelling with your animal, always show them the same love and affection you would at home and secure them safely using a variety of means such as:
A carrier cage for small animals
Specially fitted safety harnesses
Rear cages fitted to the boot for larger animals to move freely
By taking all of these steps, you can ensure that your animals stay safe whilst moving from A to B and you don’t become an unexpected hazard for yourself and others on the road.
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