California Motor Vehicle Code 23117
Transporting Animals in a Motor Truck
When it comes to transporting animals, the laws in place serve to keep them just as safe as humans. Vehicle code 23117 addresses carrying animals in the back of a motor truck.
On a highway, it is unlawful to transport any animal in the back of a truck intended for loading objects if the animal is left unrestrained in the space. If a driver wishes to transport his dog, for example, the height of the side and tail racks on the truck must be at least 46 inches and the dog must be cross tethered to the vehicle. It is a good idea to put the dog or other animal in a carrier cage and secure the cage to the back of the bed. Doing this will help keep your animal safely in the truck and prevent its being ejected in the case of a quick stop or collision.
Many people previously allowed their dogs to roam freely in the back of the open truck bed, but concerns about animal cruelty helped enact this vehicle code. Drivers who break this law may incur fines anywhere from $50 to $200. As of 2009, California is one of 8 states with strict laws regarding the transportation of animals.
Other legislation is trying to be passed which might require drivers to restrain their animals while inside the vehicle as well as in the truck bed. Those in favor of this addition to the law believe that loose dogs in vehicles, including lap-dogs on driver's laps, can distract drivers and cause accidents. While it is not passed yet, drivers should consider whether having a loose animal in the car affects their driving negatively.
Vehicle Code 23117 does not apply to the transportation of livestock or apply to animals transported in trucks on rural, ranching roads or farms, though it is always a good idea to transport animals as safely as possible.