Pet Restraints to Prevent Distracted Drivers
By The Elmore and Smith Law Firm, PC on September 12, 2019 | In Personal Injury
Most of us consider our pets to be a part of the family. It’s fun to have a companion to bring on vacation, to the park or even on a quick trip to the store. However, it can be a dangerous or even deadly distraction if your pet is not properly restrained. Distracted driving can take many forms, and studies show that having an unrestrained pet is one of them.
A recent study from Volvo Cars USA evaluated 15 drivers who were behind the wheel with unrestrained pets for 30 hours. During that time, they found that motorists exhibited 649 unsafe driving behaviors, compared to 274 dangerous acts when pets were in a seat belt, harness, crate or carrier.
How Driving With Unrestrained Pets Can Be Distracting
Pets can be a significant distraction if they’re allowed to roam freely in your vehicle. Owners admit to many dangerous activities while driving, such as feeding their pets, petting them or letting them sit in their laps.
Any activity that causes drivers to take their eyes and attention off the road could lead to an accident. Animals riding in a driver’s lap also obstruct drivers from reacting quickly to maneuver when necessary. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, even two seconds of distracted driving increases the chances of a car accident.
Does Driving With Pets Cause More Car Accidents?
The Volvo study found that having unrestrained pets raised the stress levels for both drivers and their animals, increasing the risk of car accidents and making it more likely for the pet will be injured or killed in a crash. Research from AAA and Kurgo found a 10-pound unrestrained dog can generate 500 pounds of force in an accident at 50 miles per hour. An 80-pound animal generates 2,400 pounds of force in a 30-pound crash, according to the survey.
How to Restrain Your Pet In The Car
There are many commercial products that can safely restrain a pet in the car. Pet harnesses, crates, gates, and carriers can keep both the pet and owner from harm. This helps reduce distractions to the driver, but it also helps protect the animal. While front-seat airbags are invaluable in protecting human lives, they can kill pets.
The correct restraint will depend on the animal’s size, according to the Center for Pet Safety. Crates work well for some pets, while padded harnesses or pet car seats work well for others. No matter the type, any restraint should be strapped down or connected to the vehicle’s seatbelt.
How The Elmore And Smith Law Firm Can Help
If you were injured in a distracted driving accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical costs, pain, and suffering, property damage and other losses. The experienced attorneys at The Elmore and Smith Law Firm will fight for the justice you deserve.
Call us today at (828) 414-4558 or fill out an online contact form for a free consultation.