SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) – If you drive with your pet on your lap, it could soon be against the law in Illinois.

A bill in the State Capitol would make it a petty offense for drivers caught on the road with a pet on their lap, and they could face a $50 fine.

Deana Corbin, the executive director of the Springfield animal shelter Animal Protective League, said it could be dangerous for people to have their pet sit on their lap while they drive.

“If you get in an accident, and that pet isn’t restrained, it could fly out of the car, it could get crushed against your steering wheel,” Corbin said.

It’s not just a safety concern for the pet, but for the driver too, Corbin warns.

“If you have more than one animal in your car, sometimes they’ll react to each other and if they get in a fight in the car, then you’re more worried about taking care of them and if you happen to glance back or something then you can get in an accident yourself,” Corbin said.

Corbin said the Animal Protective League would support the bill, adding that it’s safer for both people and animals in the car if their pet is properly restrained. 

“We’ve all tried to transport animals in our car at one time or another, and we know how dangerous that can be sometimes if they’re not restrained,” she said.

Corbin recommends pet owners invest in restraints for their animals while driving. For bigger dogs, Corbin said they can get a tether for their dog that snaps into the car seat. For small animals, pet owners can put them in a carrier.

The bill passed unanimously out of the House Transportation committee and now heads to the House floor for further discussion.