A leading road safety charity has backed changes to laws about drivers’ liability for running over cats.
Currently, the Road Traffic Act 1988 does not require drivers to report collisions with cats to the police. However, other animals are also within the scope of the legislation.
This was sparked by an official online petition that reached 102,436 signatures following recent parliamentary debates on the topic.
“Nation of Animal Lovers”
In a Westminster Hall debate presented by Tonia Antoniazzi MP, it was noted that around 630 cats are hit by cars every day in the UK. This equates to almost 230,000 animals per year.
Transport Secretary Richard Holden MP acknowledged during the debate that “Britain is a nation of animal lovers” and “the heartbreak caused by losing a pet”.
Mr Holden also said including cats in the wording of the Road Traffic Act was “something the government is prepared to consider”, but doing so would require new “preliminary legislation”.
However, no timetable was given for this, with more focus on upcoming legislation that would make microchipping of cats mandatory in England.
Drivers should ‘do the right thing’
Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM RoadSmart, commented: “Drivers are required by law to stop and report incidents where they hit a dog, and we’ve seen cars either drive very slowly and very carefully, or stop when the dog runs into the road. However, when the cats run out, the same level of care is rarely observed—perhaps because drivers know that, legally, they don’t have to stop.
“However, if a law were introduced requiring drivers to stop when they hit a cat, we believe it could increase drivers’ overall vigilance and sense of responsibility – meaning the benefits of this legislation would extend far beyond cat protection.”
Mandy Hobbis, co-founder of feline road crash organization Cats Matter, added: “Updating this law simply comes down to minimizing suffering and saving cat lives. Thankfully, many drivers are already doing it right. However, there are some drivers who sadly need the threat of punishment to take action in this situation.”
Which animals are covered by the Road Traffic Act?
Article 170 Road Traffic Act 1988 Covers the liability of drivers involved in a collision with one of the following:
- donkey and mule
This means that if a driver hits any of the animals mentioned above, they must stop and report an accident to the police.
It is also recommended to contact your insurance company and inform them of the circumstances of the collision.
The Dacia Spring EV received a five-star green rating. But there is a problem…
How to Sell Your Car for the Best Price
Honda Civic Type R 2023 review