Driving with an unrestrained animal in the car is an accident waiting to happen.
When you think of driver distractions, you may think of people texting, eating, or grooming while behind the wheel, but dogs in your car could also lead to car accidents.
According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s distracted driving statistics, 33 percent of all dog owners say that they have been distracted by their dog while driving, while two in ten will drive with their pet in their lap. One in five admit to letting their dog ride in the front seat. A minority even admitted to petting their dog or giving their dog food or water while behind the wheel.
Only a small percentage of dog owners said that they restrained their pet in some way while in the car. This last fact, it turns out, is dangerous both to the dog and to the owner. Even a small dog who is not restrained during an accident can become a dangerous projectile that can injure or kill others in the car. At the same time, an unrestrained dog has a much lower chance of surviving a car accident.
The AAA recommends that dogs are restrained and that drivers pay attention to the road instead of to their pets. They also recommend that a dog ride in the back of the car, not the front, as dogs can be seriously injured by air bags and have a much lower rate of survival in the passenger’s seat and driver’s seat.