Is it Legal to Drive With Your Dog in Your Lap in Connecticut?
I own a 5 pound Chihuahua. Chihuahuas are notoriously clingy and want to be snuggled up against their owners at all times. When I drive with my Chihuahua, he jumps up into my arms. I admit, it is distraction, but,
Is it illegal for me to carry my dog while I drive my vehicle?
I'm talking about a 5 pound dog here, way smaller than the average cat, does size matter? I've seen people with Labs, Great Danes, and Rotties in their laps while they were driving too. I'm sure it's a hell of a lot easier to lose sight of the road when you have a 140 pound Mastiff on your knee.
Are you breaking a law in Connecticut if you have your pet on your lap while you're operating a vehicle? The short answer is no, but it depends on the reported incident.
According to the State of Connecticut at ct.gov, Connecticut law does not explicitly bar drivers from allowing dogs or other animals to sit in their lap. It does, however, prohibit people from engaging in any activity in a motor vehicle that interferes with its safe operation on a highway. By law, a highway is any state or local highway, road, street, avenue, alley, driveway, parkway, or place open for public travel. In other words, everywhere in Connecticut.
The way I interpret that is that if you have a dog on your face, and you're driving along 84 doing 65, you may be pulled over. I also interpret that as if you crash into someone's shrub as you're rounding a corner in Anytown, Connecticut with a Beagle on your neck, you may be issued a Distracted Driving summons.
Connecticut, the land of common sense. So, don't yell at the old guy in the truck driving safely with his trusty German Shepard on his lap, save your outrage for the girl with the Pomeranian on her chest doing 50 in a 25.