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September 7, 2011 at 9:09 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Driving Ms. Fido: Distracted Driving With Dogs Causes an Accident Every 18 Minutes!

By Victoria Swanson More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Paws & Awws Blog Series

Did you know that 1 in 5 drivers have driven with a dog on their lap? According to Paws to Clickevery year 30,000 accidents are caused by dogs riding in the front seat. That means about every 18 minutes an accident occurs due to a loose pet in a vehicle!

Unfortunately, while we love our furry friends dearly, they can be very distracting sometimes, especially in the car.

Dogs may distract you by hanging too far out the window, vomiting (possibly from motion sickness), jumping back and forth between the front seat and the back seat, putting his paws on the steering wheel, chewing on the upholstery.... the list goes on and on!

Fortunately, there are several ways to restrain your dog in the car:

  • Booster/Car Seats can be used for small or medium sized dogs.
  • Seat Belts help to restrain larger dogs.
  • Crates can also be secured in your car
  • Warning: For your dog's safety, all 3 of these methods should be utilized in the back seat of the car.

My dogs, Izzy and Romeo, both have booster seats and they LOVE them. In fact, Izzy will run to our vehicle and to try to get into her car seat! It's a great reassurance, because when I drive, I never worry about their safety. Also, while poor Romeo suffers from motion sickness, knowing he's secure in his booster seat ensures if he does get sick, he's not going to vomit all over my car and let's me focus on driving.

And to the resistant who say:

"I can protect him if we get into an accident."

Unfortunately, if he's on your lap, your dog will most likely die from direct impact of the airbag. Also, in an accident, an unrestrained dog could become a deadly projectile. Look at it this way. An unrestrained 10 pound dog in a crash at 50 mph will exert roughly 500 pounds of pressure. Imagine how great this would be for an 80 pound dog!

"If my dog is restrained, he won't be able to hang his head out the window."

Actually, the majority of seatbelts made for dogs limit movement but usually allow for some window access. My dog, Izzy, puts her head out the window even in her booster seat. But even here, you should be aware that your dog could get debris in their eyes, so maybe it is best to not let your dog stick their head out the window regardless.

Besides, it's becoming the law:

Some states are making changes to ensure the safety of drivers and their pets. Eight states - California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington - now require drivers to restrain their dogs when they are in an open area of the vehicle, such as the bed of a truck. However, the inside of a vehicle does not qualify as an open area. Oregon is also considering a bill stating that dogs must be restrained in cars. So far, Hawaii is the only state with laws on the books that say drivers cannot operate a vehicle with a pet in their lap.

An unrestrained dog is a distraction for drivers just like texting or talking on a phone. Ensure your family's safety as well as the safety of your fellow drivers by simply restraining your pet while driving.

Do you restrain your dog in the vehicle?

If so, which method do you use?

Sources:

Pet Travel Center

ASPCA - Dogs in Cars Can Cause Risky Behavior Behind The Wheel

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