A new study from Volvo Car USA and The Harris Poll say allowing pets to roam unrestrained while driving led to significantly more unsafe driving behaviors among motorists. According to Forbes.com, these behaviors led to more time distracted and increased stress on both drivers and their pets. The study shows that many pet owners are not cognizant of safety while driving with their pets.
Findings of the Study
The recent study followed 15 drivers and their dogs for more than 30 hours on the road examining how driving with an unrestrained pet affected driving behavior versus when an owner used restraints such as pet seatbelts, harnesses, crates and carriers. The study’s findings are enlightening.
When pets are allowed to move freely, researchers found that unsafe driving behaviors more than doubled. Such behaviors include the pet climbing on a driver’s lap or hanging their head out the window. The time drivers were distracted also more than doubled. The dogs, for example, jumped from seat to seat, causing drivers to take their eyes off the road. Stress on both drivers and their dogs increased. Drivers who participated in the study said they felt calmer when their dogs were buckled in.
Most importantly, the study sheds light on the dangers to all passengers when drivers fail to restrain their dogs properly. While allowing pets to move freely inside the car can be convenient, it poses a serious risk not just in terms of distractions, but also increasing the chances of serious injury in the event of a car accident.
Tips for Drivers With Pets
Here are some important tips for drivers who wish to travel with their pets:
• Never drive with your pet in the front seat. If a crash occurs, a dog or cat can be thrown from the seat into the windshield, even if it is restrained. Unless the passenger-side airbag is disabled, the airbag deployment can be fatal to a small pet.
• Do not drive with your pet on your lap. Not only is it a serious driving distraction, but also the pets can end up getting caught under the steering wheel and cause an accident.
• Do not drive with your pet unrestrained. In addition to being a distraction, a sudden stop may cause the pet to fall quickly. In the event of a crash, pets may jump off the car and get hit by moving traffic. Car companies such as Volvo are developing safety accessories for pets that directly tie into the safety system of the car including a Dog Harness, Load Compartment Divider, Dog Gate and Protective Steel Grille.
• Never allow your pet to lean out of a car window. Debris may be forced into their eyes and cause serious injuries that may result in blindness.
Please remember that such distractions have serious consequences. A driver who causes a car accident because he or she is distracted by a pet may be held financially responsible for the injuries, damages and losses caused. Injured victims of such car accidents may be able to receive compensation for damages including but not limited to medical expenses, lost income and benefits, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, or if you have lost a loved one in a car accident caused by a negligent or careless driver, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.
For over 47 years, our skilled accident attorneys have established a proven track record of helping injured victims. Our law firm recently recovered $5,600,000 for a bicyclist who was hit by a van, and $2,550,000 for another victim of a truck accident, and $3,000,000 for a pedestrian who was hit by a car, and the full $1,000,000 insurance policy for a pedestrian who was hit by a truck, and $4,625,000 for a driver who was in a car and was hit by a van, and $2,500,000 for a man who fell through an improperly secured hole. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
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