If you’ve been licensed to drive for a while, you most likely understand the importance of wearing a seatbelt. To be sure, buckling up can save lives in the event of an accident or collision. However, pet owners are not always aware of the importance of buckling up their furry riders (particularly dogs) whenever they tag along for a ride. Most dogs love to ride in cars, but their presence can be a distraction and that distraction gets much worse if the dog is unrestrained.
An unrestrained animal can move around freely, climbing over the driver and/or passengers, jumping up and down and causing a general commotion in the car. Additionally, in the event of a sudden stop or swerve, an unrestrained pet will not be protected from whiplash or injury and it may get tossed around the vehicle.
A recent article in the Sun-Sentinel highlighted the results of a survey conducted among pet owners who take their animals in the car with them. Nearly 56 percent of the survey responders said that they had given their dogs rides in the car in the last month, and of that group, more than half reported being distracted as a result. The survey was conducted by AAA and Kurgo, a company that makes products designed to protect dogs from injury when they ride in cars.
Restrain Your Pets
In the same survey, 16 percent of pet owners said that they use a pet restraint in their cars regularly to keep their pets safe. Many of the other owners who don’t use them said that their pets were calm and behaved during the ride, such that they did not need to be restrained. However, even if your pet is sleeping or lying down in the back seat, there is still a danger to you, your passengers and your pet when you’re driving.
If you have to make a sudden stop, your seatbelt is designed to trap you against your seat and keep you from flying through the car and even the windshield. But your pet has no such restriction and will move forward with the momentum of a crash or stop. According to AAA, even a 10-pound dog can exert 300 pounds of pressure, if tossed about at 30 miles per hour, and a bigger dog of around 80 pounds could exert almost 2,400 pounds of pressure — all of which is dangerous to the dog and anyone else in the car!
Restraints – Do They Work?
Subaru of America teamed up with the Center for Pet Safety to conduct a study on the effectiveness of pet restraints. According to the research panel, “there currently are no crash-test performance standards for animal restraints as there are for child seats in the U.S., which means dog owners are more or less at the mercy of manufacturers’ claims for pet protection.” The study found that the top-performing crate was the Gunner Kennels GI Intermediate.
Pet safety is always important, but in the car, it’s even more critical to protect your beloved pets and your family members from injury. For more information regarding car accidents and personal injury claims, contact a Denver personal injury lawyer at Levine Law today.