Tag Archives: lapdogs

Ban on Lapdogs in Cars, Killed Last Year, Has Returned

Lapdogs in cars could mean trips to court under legislation that appears headed for passage after gaining approval of a committee that killed a similar bill last year.
Sen. Ken Yager, R-Harriman, won approval of SB3110 in the Senate Transportation Committee on a 5-2 vote.
Last year, the committee killed a bill by Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, that had the same goal, though slightly different language.
This year’s bill creates a new misdemeanor offense for having an animal in the lap while driving. It also covers an animal being between the driver and the driver’s door.
Yager won the committee’s approval after reading a letter from a constituent in Oliver Springs who said he has twice barely avoided a serious accident because of other drivers with dogs in their laps.
Both the and the House sponsor, Republican Rep. Jim Cobb, said passage of the bill should make highways safer. Cobb said statistics show about 30,000 accidents per year nationwide caused by drivers distracted by dogs or cats in their vehicles.
The House version of the bill is scheduled for a floor vote tonight.

Committee Approves Bill to Ban Lap Dogs (if you’re driving a car)

The House Transportation Committee approved Tuesday legislation that, as revised, will prohibit motorists from having dogs or cats in their laps while driving.
As originally introduced, HB212 would have required animals in the front seat of a vehicle to be restrained or confined in a box. Sponsor Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, said that version was “drafted over the phone without enough communication” and “was just ridiculous.”
“It was modified just to apply with a dog who is in (a driver’s) lap, impeding their body and ability to keep their attention on the road,” Cobb said.
Rep. John Tidwell, D-New Johnsonville, questioned whether the bill was really necessary since the state already has the traffic offense of “distracted driving” and that would apparently cover a driver who was distracted by a dog.
Cobb said he felt a specific law was needed because “I’ve seen too many dogs with people who have a complete disregard.”
The bill, he said, was inspired by an accident that left a woman and her dog both dead. The victim, who was not identified, was a friend of a legislative staffer, Cobb said.
The measure was approved on voice vote and now goes to the House Finance Committee. The Senate version, sponsored by Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, awaits its first committee vote.