Is Driving With Dogs Head Out Window Illegal In Washington State?
My dog loves to put his head out the window when we are driving. He is kept in the back so he is not a distraction but he loves putting his head out more then anything. They have a much stronger sense of sight and smells, so hanging out the window is the best for a dog and anyone that owns a dog knows that fact. My daughter asked an interesting question I had not thought about while he was leaning out the window this weekend. Is it legal in Washington State for a dogs head to be leaning out a window?
There are a few things you need to consider here.
This is not a question of sitting on laps in the front seat, which I think is always a bad idea. If your dog is in the back and secured with a harness, can his head be hanging out the window? In Washington State, it is not illegal for your dog to free roaming or unharnessed inside your car while driving. Multiple states have these laws for dogs like Connecticut and Maine but most states do not. In fact only 6 states have laws about keeping dogs restrained in cars. So not only can your dogs head be out the window, but they legally do not need any kind of restraints while driving in the car.
If you choose not to restrain your dog, there is also a chance that they could fall out while your driving and get injured. I know if my dog is not restrained he is sliding around the car making it easy for him to get injured or fall out. Your dog could also be injured by objects in the air or have their ears damaged from the fast moving air flying into there ears while driving at high speeds.
The other thing you have to think about is if your dog might bite someone that is close to your car. When you are driving, you may stop next to someone your dog might interpret as dangerous. If your dog has a tendency to be protective around people or things they don't know, you might want to be cautious with letting your dog hang out the window. In Washington State you might get charged with distracted driving if caught with your dog running around your car, but it is rare.
Whatever you choose to do with your dog while driving your car is pretty much legal in Washington State, but that doesn't mean it is a good idea. One more thing, give your dog a hug for me today. Thanks.