“It doesn’t get more distracting than that” – the little-known law you could be breaking

10 January, 2022

New SA Police figures analysed by RAA show hundreds of South Australian drivers have been pulled up for putting themselves and a furry friend at risk behind the wheel.

Since 2015, more than 840 motorists have been caught driving with a pet on their lap, breaking a little-known law in the process.

RAA Senior Manager Safety and Infrastructure Charles Mountain said the present penalty for driving with a pet – or person – on your lap is $287 (including the Victims of Crime Levy).

“It’s quite possible that many motorists may be unaware that driving with your precious pet sitting on your lap is illegal,” Mr Mountain said.

“But there is a good reason why that’s the law – it’s very easy to be distracted or knocked by an unrestrained pet while you’re driving, which could result in an accident with potentially catastrophic consequences.’’

While that is the only specific law about restraining pets inside a vehicle in South Australia, we’re reminding drivers that it’s much safer to secure any animals in the car before going on a journey. The best way to do this is with a purpose-built safety harness, or a pet crate for smaller animals.

“If you do crash, or even have to suddenly brake, your unrestrained dog or cat could be thrown around the vehicle and be seriously injured or killed,’’ he said.

“Your unrestrained animal could become a dangerous missile inside the vehicle and put the safety and lives of everyone else in the car in grave danger.”

For more about RAA’s road safety initiatives, visit