Many people who have pets consider them to be members of the family. In fact, it is not unusual to see the family dog sitting alongside the driver in the passenger’s seat of a motor vehicle. While it is true that pets can be good traveling partners when you’re on a long commute or even going to the grocery store, it is very important to ensure that all animals transported in motor vehicles are properly restrained. This is crucial for the safety of both passengers and the animals.
Distracted Driving: Is Your Pet Taking Your Eyes Off the Road?
AAA conducted a survey that specifically involved compiling statistics on driver distraction due to dogs in automobiles. The results may surprise some pet owners, but South Florida personal injury attorney David I. Fuchs wants everyone to be aware of the issue and take action to ensure their safety.
The survey revealed that a small 10-pound dog that is riding in a vehicle unrestrained can generate 500 pounds of force if the automobile is involved in a collision at 50 miles per hour. If the dog weighs 80 pounds, the force generated increases to 2,400 pounds in a vehicle crash at only 30 miles per hour.
Additionally, statistics showed that 65 percent of drivers who travel with their dogs admitted to performing a number of distracting behaviors, such as petting the dog, taking pictures, reaching back and even holding the dog while driving. Given the stats, it is easy to see that having a pet accompany you while driving can be distracting and quite dangerous for both the animal and the human occupants.
How to Make Your Ride Safe for You…and Fido
There are ways to keep everyone, including your pet, as safe as possible when traveling. The most obvious option is to use a pet restraint of some sort. Two of the more common options are pet carriers and seatbelts that are made specifically for pets.
When considering which pet carrier to purchase to protect your pet, it is important to purchase a sturdy carrier that has sufficient room and ventilation so your pet can properly move around. It is also important to ensure the carrier is secured in the vehicle so that it stays put in the event you need to brake suddenly or you are involved in a collision.
With respect to pet seatbelts, pet owners should be aware that normal seatbelts that are used for humans can actually be dangerous for animals. Pet owners should purchase a separate belt that can be used in conjunction with the vehicle’s seatbelt. It is also imperative to ensure that the belt is the proper size for the animal, as the wrong size can lead to needless injuries.
Another way to keep everyone safe is to make sure your pet rides in the back of the vehicle. We’ve all seen it: A driver is traveling with the windows down and his or her dog is in the front seat, catching a breeze without a care in the world. As much as we’d love our pets to ride shotgun, if an accident occurs, your vehicle’s airbag can actually harm your pet. Accordingly, the safest place for your pet is in the back.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a collision, seek legal guidance from a skilled personal injury lawyer at David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A..