Local Cranston resident Suzanne Arena has advocated for a new Rhode Island law that would ban Rhode Islanders from having their dogs sitting in the driver’s seat. Ms. Arena wrote a blog describing her experience last year in almost being struck by a distracted driver who had a pooch in her lap. Today, Arena’s efforts made national news as The Wall Street Journal picked up on her story on its front page. Below is a photograph that accompanied the article.
Arena reported to RI state Rep. Peter Palumbo (the bill’s sponsor) that last year, “a driver with a medium-size collie in his lap swerved into her lane last year, nearly hitting her car.” In her blog, Arena made the following points:
Posted to Facebook and got a string of comments. I wanted to know….Is It Okay to drive with your 10lb little pooch, a Great Dane or your wife???? Really? Why is it not okay to drive with a child in the front seat? The Air bags could kill the child. What about a dog? Is the child better behaved/responsible than the dog? Is the dog more impulsive vs. a child.
NO TEXTING while driving. Does your cell phone have hands, legs and a tail and wiggle around? I don’t think so, I think this is far more a distraction.
Her blog received a string of responses, along from this Providence personal injury lawyer who has been writing on the dangers of distracted driving in Rhode Island. I thought the following comment from the WSJ article was interesting:
Capt. Frank B. Castellone, a district commander for the Rhode Island State Police, says if it were enacted, “we’d enforce the law. Any activity that distracts a driver should be illegal, be it texting or an animal on their lap.”
Whether the bill becomes law this session is anyone’s guess, but as Providence personal injury lawyers, we continue to support attention to the serious issue of distracted driving.