Dogs are among the most popular pets in United States. There are about 78 million dogs residing in 46 million American homes. According to a survey conducted byAAA, about 60 percent of the respondents have driven with their dog in their vehicle at some point in the previous year. In many cases, this could put drivers at risk, as a dog or any other pet unrestrained in a moving vehicle can be a huge distraction.
In the survey, respondents disclosed that while driving with their unrestrained dogs they engaged in the following:
- 23 percent used hands or arms to restrict the pet’s movement or hold it in place while braking
- 52 percent petted the animal
- 18 percent reached into back seat to interact with the pet
- 19 percent used hands and arms to prevent the dog from climbing from back seat to the front seat
- 17 percent allowed the dog to sit in lap
- 13 percent gave food to dog
- 4 percent played with dogs
- 12 took a photo of their dog
It is important to note that those taking photos of their pet has increased three fold in past 4 years. In 2011 survey, only 4 percent had admitted to taking photos of their pets in the car. However, in the 2015 survey, the figure jumped to 12 percent.
Distracted driving is undoubtedly extremely dangerous and can put lives at risk. Driving with a pet is not as risky, but driving with an unrestrained pet can be a big distraction and a huge risk. They may tempt the driver to interact, restrict or engage them and this is how they become an interaction.
According to the AAA foundation for Traffic Safety Report, taking your eyes off the road even for two seconds can increase the risk of an accident by around two-fold.
It is surprising that 85 percent of the respondents agree having an unrestrained pet in the vehicle it is moving is dangerous and yet 6 in 10 drivers still do it, and only about 15 percent of dog owners who drive with their dogs use some kind of a restraint.
People who do not restrain their dog give various reasons such as their pet is calm and does not require it, or that it is too troublesome or complicated.
Before you drive with an unrestrained dog, you should consider that if you get into an accident while travelling at 50 mph with your 10 pound unrestrained dog, it is likely to cause serious or fatal injuries to the dog and the dog’s body may exert about 500 pounds of force. The more the weight of the pet, the bigger the impact will be.
If you have sustained injuries in an accident caused by a distracted driver traveling with an unrestrained pet, you should consult a competent St. Louis auto accident attorney to get help with the legal claim. Call The Hoffmann Law Firm L.L.C. today at (314) 361-4242 for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney.