By now many of us are aware that distracted driving is a major cause of car accidents in Louisiana and across the United States. Distracted driving is defined as any activity that takes a driver's concentration away from the road. Examples of distracted driving include texting, eating a burger and even adjusting the radio. The latest activity to make the distracted driving radar is unrestrained pets in vehicles. In other words, allowing your pooch to hang out the window as you drive may be more dangerous than you think.
Unrestrained pets in vehicles can be a hazard to the pet and to the occupants of the vehicle. Last year around 89 percent of pets that traveled by car were not properly restrained. Those numbers are low when you think about how commonplace using a seat belt has become. Three years ago, the numbers were even worse. Only two percent of pets that rode in vehicles were properly secured.
Currently, there are no federal or state laws that require pets to be secured when they travel in vehicles. Even though there is no legal incentive to encourage proper pet restraint in vehicles, think about this the next you travel with your pet: An unrestrained pet can become a projectile in a car. Research by car manufacturers has shown that an unsecured item that weighs 60 pounds traveling at 30 miles per hour has the force of 2,700 pounds. That means a large dog can turn into a small elephant during an accident.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Get in the car, fasten your seat belt, that's a good boy!" Gwendolyn Bounds, 6/29/11