A state legislator said Thursday that he’s withdrawn a bill that would have made it illegal to drive with a pet in one’s lap.
Rep. Garland Pierce, a Democrat from Scotland County, made headlines last week when he filed a bill to impose a $100 fine on anyone caught driving with a live animal in their lap. Pierce said his office received lots of calls about the proposal, and reaction was split evenly between supporters and opponents of the measure.
Some pet owners didn’t like the bill, he said, and he also heard from a group of military veterans who told him some vets travel with service animals who can detect signs of a stroke. The animals have to be kept close while driving.
“My bill was never an attempt to challenge people about their animals, it was just about highway safety,” he said. “It took on another life of its own.”
Pierce said he still wants to address distracted driving concerns and plans to file legislation that would launch a broader study of distracted driving in North Carolina. The study would gather input from safety professionals like the N.C. Highway Patrol and AAA.
“I think it’s better to sit down with calmer heads and study the issues,” Pierce said. “I didn’t want to put my colleagues in a position where they have to vote against safe highways or against animal owners.”