Q: Is it legal to drive around with a dog running free in the open bed of your pickup? – Diane M., Enumclaw
A: We here at Traffic Q&A headquarters have an affinity for pickups and dogs (we sadly lack both), so Diane’s question piqued our interest.
To the RCW’s we went.
No. 46.61.660 is on point. It states, in part:
“It shall be unlawful for any person to transport any living animal on the running board, fenders, hood, or other outside part of any vehicle unless suitable harness, cage or enclosure be provided and so attached as to protect such animal from falling or being thrown therefrom.”
We noticed that the law does not specifically say “open bed of a pickup,” so we went to go-to guy Sgt. James Prouty of the Washington State Patrol for clarification.
Yes, Prouty said, the law applies to open pickup beds.
Same applies to people, by the way, except those aboard emergency vehicles or garbage trucks that are traveling 20 mph or less.
Diane, who has seen dogs bouncing around in the backs of trucks, said that makes sense to her.
“Even if they’re tethered, if there’s an accident, they could be hanged or thrown out and into someone’s windshield,” she said.
We will definitely keep this in mind if we ever again own a dog and pickup at the same time.