There Oughtta Be a Law

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

California wants to ban driving with a dog in your lap. If this were causing people to drive recklessly, you’d think it would be covered by laws against . . . reckless driving.

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10 Responses to “There Oughtta Be a Law”

  1. #1 |  Chris in AL | 

    Exactly. I feel the same way about cell phone bans. No law is needed. If someone causes an accident because of it, hit them with reckless driving, careless and imprudent driving, reckless endangerment etc…whatever applies. Let their insurance company punish them with brutal premiums for being high risk.

    But then, that would not allow the government to raise money, which is ever the goal. Safety is not what they are really concerned with.

  2. #2 |  solarjetman | 

    In a perfect world with perfect cops, “reckless driving” could cover all sorts of traffic offenses, including speeding. But in the world we live in, asking police to enforce “reckless driving” in and of itself, rather than as a charge to be tacked on to other offenses, is asking them to watch drivers and make subjective judgments on their driving. That power would almost certainly be abused.

    Probably best to let legislators waste their time on a silly law that even the police will roll their eyes at. I can’t imagine the revenue generated being at all significant.

  3. #3 |  Nick T | 


    While giving tons of subjective leeway to police is not a great thing, laws like this just give police more and more articulable reasons to pull you over. This will absolutely lead to more police pulling more people over for stuff that is worthless and harmless. This just promotes police abuse and waste of police resources.

  4. #4 |  Highway | 

    The police have more than enough excuses to pull you over any time they want. Even if you aren’t doing anything, what recourse do you have?

    The point of these tack-on regulations for things like driving is to make it less discretionary, and make things more concrete for officers, and even easier for the police. Now you don’t have to be driving recklessly, you just have to have some condition where other people might drive recklessly. You might not be driving badly, but you have a phone. Couldn’t pull you over before, now they can. You might not be driving badly, but have a dog. Couldn’t pull you over before, now they can.

    It moves the violation from the actual problem (driving recklessly) to politically unpopular reasons (cell phones, dogs in cars), but leaves many other reasons alone (kids, other passengers, eating, messing with the radio).

  5. #5 |  Mike Gogulski | 

    I wish they’d ban people driving with ferrets on their heads. Those people are a menace!

    Oh wait, ferrets are already illegal in California… nevermind.

  6. #6 |  Max D. | 

    I loathe pocket dogs; what I loathe more, though, is their doting owners who think it’s OK to take a dog everywhere.

    But we don’t need another law. (After all, you can’t legislate common sense.)

  7. #7 |  Dave Krueger | 

    What politicians need is a libertarian pay scale. We should dock their pay for every new law.

  8. #8 |  Brian | 

    It could be an animal rights thing. If you get in an accident with a dog in your lap, the airbag will prob. kill the dog.

  9. #9 |  The Liberty Papers »Blog Archive » From My Cold, Dead Lap | 

    […] As Radley Balko says, “If this were causing people to drive recklessly, you’d think it would be covered by laws against . . . reckless driving.” […]

  10. #10 |  Jennie | 

    The Animal Rights people are all over this bill, because hopefully drivers will start buckling up their doggies so they’ll be safe in case of an accident.