As Aussies, we love our pets and it’s a fact. There are over 29 million pets in Australia, and our country has one of the highest pet ownership rates in the world, according to a national survey of pets and people.
Three in five Australian households have a pet and it seems dogs continue to lead the way as the country’s most popular choice, with just over 5 million filling the homes and hearts of people across the nation.
When it comes to Queenslanders, almost 60% of households have a dog and owners most likely love their pets just as much as they love the sun and sea. Cruise down the streets of the Sunshine State and there’s no doubt you’ll be able to spot an animal companion accompanying its human driver.
But what’s shocking is about 5000 dogs each year are injured or killed in Australia as a result of falling from a moving vehicle, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).
But if we love our pets like we love our children then why don’t we strap them in like children?
Although there’s no requirement for Queensland drivers to restrain their pets while driving, it is illegal for them to be seated on a driver’s lap.
Driving with a pet on your lap is an offence under section 297(1A) of the Queensland Road Rules which states that “a driver must not drive a vehicle if a person or an animal is on the driver’s lap”. It can be ‘ruff’ for drivers who don’t abide by this law – they can be slapped with a $294 fine.
But never fear, there are many ways to avoid harsh penalties by restraining your four-legged-friend, keeping you both safe while driving.
Keep your pet safe with a restraint
A few ways you can prevent your pet from stumbling about the back seat is by using a pet:
- Car harness
- Safety strap
- Booster seat
- Crate or carrier
- Cage or guard
The two most popular options are seat belt harnesses and safety straps. This is because they’re quick and easy to use and can be purchased from any good pet or hardware store.
Safety straps can simply be fastened to the seat belt and attached to your pet’s harness or collar. If you’re using a car harness, it’ll have a band to thread the seatbelt through on the back of it, ensuring your pet is comfortable and won’t move too far in case of sudden breaking or an unexpected collision.
Keep in mind that if you’re using a booster seat, crate or carrier it’ll take up more space in your vehicle but is just as safe as other options. These usually have attachments that connect to the back of your vehicle’s seat and head rest, creating a sectioned off space for your pet to be safely restrained in.
Pet cages or barrier guards are essentially a mesh wall that separates the back seat from the boot. These are popular options if you have a large animal and you drive a station wagon, 4WD or SUV. It’s important to keep in mind that in an accident a boot may get crushed, so this might not be the safest option – consider properly restraining your pet in the back seat instead.
Is your pet covered?
Did you know that if your pet causes or contributes to a motor incident, your car insurance could be invalid, as well as any pet insurance you have? That’s why it’s important to ensure you have the right type of cover for your canine companion or curious kitty.
When it comes to reliable pet cover, just like looking for a car, it’s always a good idea to shop around. At NRMA Insurance, we may not be the top insurance company in Queensland, but we do offer a premium service at competitive prices.
So if you’re looking for trusted cover for your furry family member, we have a few options to help keep your precious pal protected.
MyNRMA offers Pet Plus, which provides cover for your pet while driving, including:
- Coverage for dogs and cats only
- Pet transport for up to $200 per incident
- Pet accommodation up to $160 per night, $500 per incident
- Long distance transport up to $1000 per incident if the destination is over 100km from home
- Access to a national network of vets and pet service providers
- Individually numbered pet tags which enable anyone to report your lost pet to NRMA (no microchip scanner required)
Plus, if you’re already an NRMA customer, you’ll get a 10% discount by using the code: NRMAPETLOVERS.
- Veterinary costs for your cats and dogs if they’re hurt in an accident (up to $2,000)
- Boarding costs for your cats and dogs if they can’t live in your home due to a listed event
- Damage to your home and contents caused by your cats and dogs
Check out the Product Disclosure Statement for more details.
For more on how you can keep your passenger pet safe, visit nrma.com.au or call us on 13 21 32. We’re always here to help.