New Jersey voters will have to decide whether to pass a state law that would require pets to be secured while in a car. Violators could be charged with animal cruelty.

Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer, a Democrat and dog owner, introduced the legislation out of concern that loose pets riding on motorists’ laps can be “more of a distraction than a cellphone, especially if the animal is hopping from seat to seat, trying to sit on your lap, or worse, jump down by your feet.’’

The legislation is supported by 48% of voters who don’t own a dog but by just 38% of those who do own a dog.