Many motorists travel with their pets without knowing that they risk a fine.

Many French people take their dog in the car and not exclusively when going on vacation. If it is most of the time during longer journeys that pets are required to ride in the back seat to accompany the whole family, some motorists are used to transporting their doggie even on short journeys, sometimes simply to reach a green park where the walk will be more peaceful. Among all these dog owners – remember that the dog population was estimated at 7.5 million in France in 2022 – there are many who are unaware that they risk a fine every time they take their faithful companion in their car.

In a car, a dog is considered a human as long as it occupies a seat. And the Highway Code stipulates in its article R422-1 that each occupant of a vehicle must wear an approved seat belt. In fact, there are several legal ways to transport a dog in a car. You can have him put on a harness and attach him to the seat belt (never do this with his collar at the risk of strangling him). But also install it in a transport box adapted to its size so that it can lie down and turn around if necessary. It is finally possible to bring the dog into the trunk and install a grille or net after removing the rear parcel shelf so that it remains in visual contact with the other occupant(s) of the vehicle.

On the road, however, it is not uncommon to see dogs moving freely, in the back seat and sometimes even in the front passenger seat. While it may be more comfortable for them, it goes against safety regulations. At the slightest brake, the animal can be thrown towards the windshield with all the consequences that this can have. Not to mention that the behavior of an animal, even a domestic one, cannot always be anticipated and that it can prove dangerous if, for example, it decides to join the driver at the wheel.

Driving with an unrestrained dog, even if it is sleeping peacefully in the back seat, is punishable by a 2nd class fine. The fine amounts to 35 euros, can be increased to 75 euros if payment is late and even rises to 150 euros in the event of a repeat offense. Beyond the safety aspect, it is important when traveling with a dog by car to plan a few stops so that he can stretch his legs and do his business. It is also advisable to give him water to drink, especially on hot summer days. Finally, as some dogs do not particularly like the car, it is not necessary to feed them before leaving to reduce the risk of nausea during the trip.