From My Cold, Dead Lap

California trying to say pets can’t ride on driver’s lap:

A California lawmaker wants to ban motorists from holding pets on their laps while driving. Getting caught could net a $35 fine.

The bill passed the California Assembly on a 44-11 vote Monday and now heads to the Senate.

Assemblyman Bill Maze said his legislation has nothing to do with pet-loving celebrities who are photographed driving around Los Angeles with their small dogs.

Maze said he introduced the bill after seeing a woman driving with three dogs on her lap.

He said unrestrained pets are a distraction that put motorists and their passengers at risk.

My dog (the one whose Indian name is “cat who barks”) hates riding in the car. Can’t stand it. The only he’ll ride is if he can just jump on my lap, lay down and do nothing. He’s neither a distraction nor does he put me at risk.

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

This is just one more superfluous law created by a nanny-stater with too much time on his hands.

  • Jeff Molby

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

    It is, of course, but that’s a heck of a lot harder to enforce. Police work is supposed to be easy, donchaknow.

  • SOBrien

    It’s too bad that so few people realize that the single most likely cause of their death is a car accident. If we can reduce car crashes a percent or 2 with this law then it is a good law.

    The most dangerous thing you will ever do is be in a moving car. My step-daughter’s father was killed by an idiot who didn’t care about driving safety.

  • tarran

    SObrien, we could dramatically slash the death rates of children by passing a law forbidding them from riding in cars. We could save countless lives by forbidding women from riding in cars.

    Would such a law be “worth it”?

  • oilnwater

    laws controlling human behavior “for the sake of public saftey” are iffy at very best. most often these laws needlessly restrict actions and more importantly they serve as an excuse to initiate search and seizure at traffic stops. that is the essence of these types of laws and why i personally oppose them vigorously.

    on the other hand, you have a law like this one mentioned that could be justified from the view of a libertarian principle of “not illegal unless it harms other people in the community” (my paraphrase). but ultimately i consider driving a vehicle as a vital practice to society, which it obviously is if you want to do almost anything, and it comes with an acceptable shared risk to maximize liberty. passing laws like this pushes the concept of pre-emptive guilt in my opinion.

    but the entire thought of laws passed for pre-emptive purposes and supposed guilt are the way things are done today. it’s a trend that looks like it’s only going to gain momentum as our society slowly and surely moves toward totalitarianism in the Age of Scarcity/Austerity.