The NH Legislature is considering legislation that would not allow pets on drivers’ laps

CONCORD, NH (AP) – New Hampshire is the only state that allows adults to drive without seat belts. Want to use your dog instead? Go for now.

While the state currently has no laws related to lap dogs, the legislature is considering a bill that would make it illegal for someone to drive with “an animal of any size on their person.” The proposal is likely a longshot in the “Live Free or Die” state, but it sparks a lot of debate.

“I never in my wildest dreams thought this would be one of the more controversial bills of the session, but by God, here we are,” said sponsor, State Rep. Jennifer Rhodes.

Why the bill was proposed

Rhodes, a Republican from Winchester, drafted the bill after watching a young girl almost get hit by a car being driven by a man who was holding two small dogs with one arm and petting them with the other. When her anger subsided, she decided to take action.

“I had a unique opportunity to make a positive change, so I did it,” she said. “I thought it would be a no-brainer.”

But as word got around, angry emails began pouring in. One author, Rhodes declined to name, argued that a well-behaved lap dog is less distracting than an animal whimpering in the back seat.

“If I drive my sick dog (or cat or other pet) to the vet for medical attention or euthanasia, you can bet I might have (and had) that animal on my lap to do it.” last trip with them,” the person wrote. “Please stay out of people’s cars and let people have a little slice of happiness in the sanctity of their own vehicles.”