Van drivers are risking a fine of up to £5,000 and potentially invalidating their insurance for not safely securing their dogs while driving to work, according to research by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
The study revealed that two-in-five 41% of van drivers who own dogs prefer to take them to work, but a third admitted to not restraining them securely, which can lead to distractions.
Rule 57 of the Highway Code states that pets must be "suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly".
The punishment for failing to secure a dog safely can range from up to £1,000 for driving without proper control but can be increased to £5,000 and nine points for careless driving, says Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
Kate Thompson, head of marketing at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, explained: “After such an extended period at home last year, we know that, now more than ever, van drivers don’t want to leave their dogs at home or with dogsitters when they go to work.
“It is important to be aware, however, of the risks attached whether it is distractions while driving and near misses or the possible fines attached to driving with unrestrained pets.”
There are a number of ways to safely secure your pet in the van including a comfortably sized seat-belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or in the boot behind a dog-guard.
The Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles research found men are more likely to take their pets to work than women, while those working in London and Northern Ireland are most likely to bring their pets to work in their vans.
Van drivers in East Anglia are more inclined to leave their dogs at home than any other region.