(COLORADO) — The Colorado State Patrol (CSP) is warning drivers about having unrestrained pets in their vehicles as they can be distractions and dangerous in a crash.

According to CSP, many Coloradoans’ pets are part of the family and travel with them on the road. But how many people CSP wonders, if those traveling with their pets are putting them into a harness, a pet carrier, or a crate? CSP said any activity such as petting or reaching back to provide a treat, that can take a driver’s attention away from driving is considered distracted driving.

“Having your pet properly restrained is important for your pet’s safety and your own,”
explains Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the CSP. “Even the most
well-behaved dog or cat can be a distraction. And, just like you, a pet can fly through the
windshield, out an open window, or crash into the dashboard.”

CSP offered recommendations from the National Humane Society about traveling with a furry friend:

  • Pets Shouldn’t Roam – dogs should be in a crate anchored to the vehicle and
    cats should be in a carrier.
  • Leave the Front Seat for Humans – airbags can cause serious injury to pets,
    even if in a carrier or crate.
  • Keep Those Heads Inside – pets can be injured by particles of debris or made
    sick by cold air being forced into their lungs.
  • Don’t Leave Your Pet Alone in the Car – heat is a serious hazard and even 70-
    degree temperatures can heat your car to over 100 degrees in less than an hour.
    And another hazard is the possibility of someone stealing your pet while you’re

“The State of Colorado, like most states, doesn’t have an explicit law that states you
must restrain your pet in a vehicle or that you are prohibited from driving with a pet in
your lap. However, having a pet in your lap may cause you to drift into another lane, hit a vehicle, or go off the road where you would be cited for careless driving,” said CSP