There are various laws in Australia governing the transportation of animals in cars for safety reasons. Restraining your pet whilst driving can save their life and yours!
According to the RSPCA, about 5,000 dogs are injured or killed in Australia every year as a result of falling from a moving vehicle.
A good fitting harness connected to the car seat belt should be considered.
Also, important to mention – never leave your pet in a hot car! It only takes six minutes for a dog to die in a hot car. (https://justsixminutes.com.au)
Victoria does not have road rules about securing animals in a vehicle while driving; however, you need to always consider the animal welfare laws.
Dogs riding in the car don’t need to be restrained however it is ‘recommended’ whilst on the back of a ute (except for working Cattle Dogs). Never put your pet in the boot of a sedan nor ride a motorbike with your pet between you and the handlebars!
In NSW, you cannot drive with an animal on your lap or between a motorbike’s handlebars nor the back seat! Plus, you can get a $500 on-the-spot fine if you have an unrestrained animal in your car.
If your pet is injured as a result of being unrestrained, you can expect six months’ jail time and a fine of up to $5,500 issued by the RSPCA.
Australian Capital Territory
An ACT driver must not drive with an animal or passenger on their lap, nor leave the animal unattended in a car if it is likely to cause it harm.
The ACT Road Rules book says animals should be securely restrained.
A driver must not drive with an animal on their lap. Also, dogs travelling on back of utes must be restrained.
Queensland law says you cannot drive with an animal on your lap. There’s no legal obligation to restrain your pet, however it’s recommended that you do for safety reasons.
Drivers in Tasmania must restrain their dog when travelling in a vehicle otherwise you’ll get a fine of $168. You also cannot drive if an animal is on their lap.
Furthermore, the Animal Welfare (Dogs) Regulations state that if a dog is on the back of a vehicle/trailer, he/she must be tethered or restrained to prevent it from falling off. Also, dogs must wear a harness to protect them on the road.
In NT, a driver must not drive a vehicle with an animal on their lap. You must also ensure your pet is correctly restrained by using a secured carry box or a pet seatbelt.
WA law states an animal being transported in a vehicle must not be in a position where they could distract or obstruct the driver’s vision. The law also states that an animal cannot be on the driver’s lap.
The RSPCA can also issue a fine of up to six months jail time and a fine of up to $5,500 if an animal is injured due to being unrestrained. So, restraining your dog is essential!