Man’s Best Friend Causes Distracted Drivers

While it may seem cute when someone’s dog has his face hanging out a car window, a recent survey demonstrates that bringing a dog along for the ride could result in distracted driving. In 2011, the American Automobile Association (AAA) and pet travel products creator, Kurgo, teamed up to ask pet owners how often they drove with their “best friends” and analyzed driving habits of pet owners when they brought their canines along. The survey results proved that pet owners engaged in risky behaviors quite often when their dogs came along for the ride.

Most Pet Owners Admit They Have Been Distracted By Their Dog While Driving

According to the survey, 56 percent of respondents have brought their dog along in the car at least once per month in the previous year. While 29 percent of companion drivers openly admitted to being distracted by their canine while they were operating a motor vehicle, the results of the survey lean toward a higher rate of distraction. In total, 65 percent of dog owners confessed that they engaged in at least one activity that took their attention away from the road due to their dog being on board.  

The following are confessions from pet owners:

  • 52 percent of drivers disclosed that they petted the dog while driving;
  • 23 percent admitted to using their hands or arms to restrict dog’s movement or restrain dog while braking;
  • 19 percent confessed they used hands or arms to stop dog from climbing from the backseat to the front seat;
  • 18 percent conceded they have reached into the backseat to interact with their dog;
  • 17 percent have actually allowed their dog to sit in their lap or held the dog while driving;
  • 13 percent have given food or treats to their dog while driving;
  • Four percent of drivers indicated they have played with their dogs while driving; and
  • Three percent revealed they have taken a picture of their dog while driving.

Each one of the confessions above are considered a form of distracted driving. In fact, AAA National advises that taking your eyes off of the road for a mere two seconds doubles your chances of being in a car accident. The company also encourages pet owners to use pet restraint systems for their dog whenever the pet rides in the car to minimize potential hazard and distractions, as well as protect everyone in the car if a crash were to occur.

Dog Restraints for the Vehicle

42 percent of survey respondents felt they did not need to use a pet restraint because their dog was calm and did not need to be restrained. AAA National, Traffic Safety Programs manager, Jennifer Huebner-Davidson states that a 10-pound dog can exert approximately 300 pounds of pressure in a car crash at only 30 mph. Even a calm dog can be hurled if a car is in an accident or the driver slams on the brakes at the last minute, posing a danger for anyone else inside of the vehicle.

Distracted driving accidents can usually be prevented. If you or someone you love has been injured by a distracted driver, contact an experienced Indianapolis car accident lawyer at Rowe & Hamilton who can help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.

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