Paul W. Smith: Dissecting the dog driving bill

Paul W. Smith

“Outta’ My Mind on a Monday Moanin’”

I had to read the story a couple of times. I wanted to be sure I clearly understood what I didn’t understand.

As of this writing, I have not yet had a chance to reach out to Rep. LaTanya Garrett, D-Detroit, about a bill she put forward that would prohibit Michigan drivers from driving with a dog on their lap.

I have to admit, I already thought that kind of distracted driving was against the law. I guess not. And we are long past the idea that common sense would prevent people from putting themselves, their beloved pet and us, for that matter, in danger, including putting your dog between you and an air bag. Or not having your dog, (preferably in the back seat), secured in one of those very available pet restraints to keep the pet and everyone else in the car from suffering the results of a “pet projectile.”

So far, so good.

Then I actually read House Bill 5277: “An individual shall not operate a motor vehicle while a dog is sitting in his or her lap” unless the dog is there for a medical purpose under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Hit the brakes!


Unless the dog is there (on your lap, while you are driving) for a medical purpose under the Americans with Disabilities Act.


What am I missing here?

Is the dog supposed to take the wheel if you have a problem?

Meaning no disrespect, but should you actually be driving if you might have a problem that keeps your service dog in your lap, while you are driving?

I’m just asking.

Paul W. Smith is host of The Paul W. Smith Show on WJR-AM (760) from 5:30-9 a.m. Monday-Friday.