Is It Legal In The State Of Washington For Your Dog To Be In Your Lap While Driving?

We've got a new puppy and he loves riding in the car. He'll start off in the back, then eventually will try to make his way to the driver's seat while the vehicle is in motion.

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Puppies Love To Try To Get Into The Driver's Seat When The Car Is Moving

On occasion around the Tri-Cities, you'll see a dog sitting in the lap of a driver in a moving car. At first sight, you'd think that it would be quite illegal to have your dog on your lap while you're driving but you'd be surprised by the law.

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According to, some states like Hawaii, New Jersey, and Rhode Island ban drivers from driving with pets in their laps.

In other states like Connecticut, Maine, and Massachusetts drivers can be charged with distracted driving or “interference with operation” if they have a dog in their lap.

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What is interesting about Washington State is that there is no law specifically banning your dog from riding on your lap while you are driving but they can charge you with animal cruelty if they find you negligent in protecting your pet.

Driving With Your Dog In Your Lap Could Be Considered Animal Cruelty

The law also implies that if you have a massive 60-pound dog riding on your lap, a distracted driving ticket might have your name on it.

Nevada and Washington, according to, have animal cruelty laws in place and it could be implied you're abusing your animal by not having them safely strapped into your vehicle.

Washington law doesn't have a specific law concerning dogs riding in the driver's seat with their owner.

megan mikals
megan mikals

We did our best to restrain our new puppy and as much as he might enjoy the lap ride, we'd prefer him to ride in the back in case of an accident.

If you want to learn more, you can click for more details here.

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