Believe it or not, there is currently no law on the books in California or any other state preventing drivers from operating a vehicle with their pet on their lap. That means your Doberman Pincher can sit right square between you and the steering wheel, and unless he is obviously disrupting your driving, the cops can’t do a thing about it.

In an age where distracted driving is the leading cause of traffic fatalities, it seems odd that there are no laws against driving with a pet on your lap. But there aren’t. In fact, whether it’s a python, a puma or an orangutan, that animal is free to climb all around your vehicle in any manner they see fit. This is great news for pet lovers who like to their animals to accompany them wherever they go; to be more like their best friend than their pet. But it’s not very good news for anyone who might be sharing the road with them.

Unlike distracted driving, which the National Transportation Safety Board said is the leading cause of traffic fatalities, there are no statistics for the number of crashes caused by pooches in the front seat, or any seat. In fact, it’s hard to know just how many people currently ride around with their pet loose in the vehicle.

When I take my cat to the vet I always put him in a carrier because otherwise he might climb to the top of my head and try to sit there while I’m driving. This is a risk I cannot take. I have seen a number of other drivers cruising down the road with fido hanging his head out the window or even riding in their lap as they cruise down the highway at 65 mph. Doesn’t seem like the smartest thing to do to me, but who am I to judge?

Clearly I am not alone in my belief that driving with a loose animal in your vehicle is dangerous, however. A new group in California called Bark Buckle Up is petitioning legislators to create a law which requires drivers to restrain animals who are riding in a vehicle with them. Interestingly enough they are doing to protect the safety of the animal, which they say is endangered if the car stops short or swerves suddenly, not the driver or anyone else on the road.

What a strange world we live in.

Image: graur razvan ionut /