Dog owners who take their animals in the car with them may be largely underestimating just how much of a distraction their canines can be in a motor vehicle. When responding to a recent AAA Survey only 29 percent of dog owners said that their animal was a distraction when they brought their dog along for a car ride. In reality, however, 65 percent of people who traveled with their pet in their vehicle engaged in some kind of distracting behavior.
The majority of pet owners – 84 percent – said they bring their dog with them in the car sometimes, whether to go to the pet store or dog park or to run errands or go on vacation. Unfortunately, many of these dog owners are endangering themselves or others when their animal is in the car with them. If you are hurt by a distracted dog owner in a motor vehicle accident, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer.
Dog Owners are Often Distracted By Their Pets
Dog owners engage in a variety of different kinds of behaviors that are classified as a distraction when their pets ride in the car with them. For example:
- 17 percent of dog owners said they allowed their pets to ride on their lap while driving.
- 52 percent of pet owners whose dogs were in the car with them pet the pup while driving.
- 13 percent of pet owners who traveled in the vehicle with their dogs fed the animal treats or food while driving.
- Four percent of people driving with their dogs in the car played with the pups while behind the wheel.
When a dog owner engages in any of these behaviors, he takes his eyes and his focus off of the road. Research has shown that any time someone looks away for two or more seconds from the record, the risk of an accident significantly increases. These activities are taking the dog owner’s attention away for far longer than two seconds.
Unfortunately, if a dog owner does get into an accident with a pet in the car, the animal is in danger and could also cause injury to others in the vehicle. Only 16 percent of people who take their dog in the car with them said they use any kind of pet restraint system to secure the animal. As Esurance points out, a dog that is not restrained becomes a projective. A 10 pound dog in a 50 mile per hour crash can create the equivalent of 500 pounds of force and an 80 pound dog in a 30 mile per hour crash can create force equal to 2,400 pounds.
To ensure your pet does not become a distraction and to prevent your dog from becoming a projectile if a collision occurs, pet owners should always restrain their pets in the car. There are pet seat belts that can be used to keep the animal in place or pet owners can have a securely-fastened crate or carrier in their vehicles to keep the pet safe.
Missouri accident victims should contact the offices of Tolbert Beadle and Musgrave LLC at 1-800-887-4030.