A personal story about pet travel safety and the N.J.S.A. 4:22-18 Law

The recent New Jersey "Click it or Ticket" campaign garnered a lot of local and national press because the NJSPCA and the MVC joined forces to remind people of a long established law, N.J.S.A. 4:22-18 allowing NJSPCA officers to pull over any driver who they feel is improperly transporting an animal and imposing a fine of up to $1,000. In addition they can charge the driver with a disorderly persons offense under the state's animal cruelty statutes. These organizations stressed the importance of safely restraining your pets when they are traveling in vehicles, for their safety as well as for ours.

This is an all too real issue for me, as I have seen first hand what can happen to pets that are not properly restrained in the event of an accident. When I was a child, my mom and I were involved in a serious car accident. Both my mom and I were injured.

My most vivid memory of that day was of two silver miniature poodles that were ejected from the car that struck us. In a strange twist of fate their leashes were caught in the fragments remaining attached to the car from the blown out rear window. If their leashes had not gotten caught, they would have been thrown completely from the car. They were yipping as they hung out of the rear of the car by their collars.  The poodles were alive, but they were injured and traumatized. They hung there for what seemed like a very long time as the human victims received first priority from the folks who stopped to help.

This image is burned in my memory some 40 years later. I am reminded of that day every time I see a dog sticking his head out of a window of a moving car or sitting on the lap of a driver or passenger. I think about how those poodles became projectiles during the accident. I worry what will happen to those pets free-roaming the back seats or sitting in laps in the event their cars are involved in an accident. The statistics are sobering as our beloved pets are more likely to die or suffer serious injury if they are unrestrained in a vehicle when an accident happens.

Therefore, I am all for the attention this issue has received and totally in favor of properly restraining our pets for all our sakes!
Claudia Loomis


  1. pets should be cared for but i am skeptical of any campaign that leaves the judgement up to the officer. i have a large family and their are not extra seats in our minivan so we while our large dog is lying on the floor which some consider unsafe we, however, clip his shoulder harness to the carseat hooks that minivans have. That is the only way he could travel with us on camping trips. I think that that there are no one size fit all answers and we need to not judge when you see a dog with his head out of the window as he may be secured as well and may have car sickness.

  2. We recently bought the Midwest Wire Mesh Car Barrier from your store (Our price $71.99). Are you saying it meets the NJ Law for proper restraint? The dog is in the back platform unrestrained but separated from the rest of the vehicle as you can see it on your website?

  3. Thank you for your question. We are happy to tell you that the barrier you purchased is legally compliant. The law actually does not specify how a pet is to be restrained while riding in a vehicle. There are many ways to safely retrain pets in vehicles.

    If you own an SUV or a minivan a crate or a barrier is an effective and safe way to restrain your pet. This limits the amount of movement the pet has and greatly reduces the driver distraction pets can cause. However most sedan type vehicles will not easily accommodate a crate or a barrier, in this case the best option is to restrain the pet in the back seat with a seat belt harness or for a small dog in a booster seat designed for pets.

    The barrier that you purchased is a very safe, effective and legally compliant way to restrain your pet in your vehicle.

    We hope that you and your pet are happy with your barrier.

    Many thanks.


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