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Driving with pets can land you up to £2,500 fines and invalidate car insurance | Cars | Life & Style

Easter Bank Holiday weekend could be complete chaos on the roads, with an estimated 21 million drivers expected to hit the roads.

A large proportion of Brits will be taking their family and their pets away for the long weekend.

Drivers are, however, failing to properly restrain their pets before setting off.

Research by Confused.com reveals that over a third of drivers (34 per cent) are risking hefty penalties by failing to buckle up their pet before setting off.

Almost two thirds of drivers were unaware that they could be punished with a fine of up to £1,000 for driving without proper control of the car and, in some cases, up to £2,500 for driving without due car and attention.

In addition to the fine, drivers can also receive up to nine penalty points on their licence and even have their insurance invalidated.

Drivers only have to accrue 12 points to receive a driving ban, meaning it could be enough to see some drivers lose their licence.

Motorists who have held their licence for less than two years will be instantly banned if caught, as they only need to accrue six points to lost their licence.

The reason that the punishment is so hefty for drivers is due to the immense distraction a pet can be.

Almost a tenth (8 per cent) of drivers have had to try and prevent an accident while they were travelling with their pet in the car.

These actions include swerving, emergency braking or physically holding their pet down.

Not only can drivers put themselves at risk, but also their furry companion by not restraining them.

Drivers who don’t buckle up their pets are in breach of the Highway Code, which states motorists should suitably restrain all animals while driving in the car in order to preserve their safety, as well as the safety of the driver, passengers and other road users.

Effective methods of restraint, according to the Highway Code, include using a specialist seatbelt, shutting pets in a secure cage or carrier, or using a boot guard to separate pets from other passengers.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, says: “With 21 million drivers taking to the road this Easter, undoubtedly many will be joined by four-legged companions as they set off on trips across the UK.

“But drivers must restrain their dogs properly, or they could receive fines up to £2,500.

“Driving with an unrestrained pet can also invalidate your car insurance, meaning having to personally pay out for repairs in the event of a claim.

“Drivers should read our go-to guide to make sure they are complying with the law and keeping their pets as safe as possible.”

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