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It seems as though drivers can be distracted by just about anything. First, there was a lot of concern about cell phones, and then it was all about kids in the car. And don’t forget the dangers of eating and driving. Now we’ve got another distraction to add to the list: your pets.
A new study conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA) that was based on 1,000 dog owners who have driven with their pet in the car during the past year. They found that 31 percent of those who responded admitted to being distracted by their dog. Furthermore, 59 percent have engaged in various distracting behaviors involving their pets – this included petting their dog (more than 50 percent); allowing their dog to sit on their lap in the driver’s seat (21 percent); and giving their dog food and water or playing with them while driving.
Are you guilty of doing any of the above mentioned offenses? Even if you only do it for a few seconds, it can still increase the risk of a crash. In fact, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that taking your eyes off the road for as little as two seconds doubles your crash risk.
The study goes on to say the 88 percent of those polled drive with their pets on occasion, but only 17 percent use a pet restraint. It’s hard to think about, but an unrestrained pet can be a dangerous projectile in a crash, not only causing serious injury to your beloved pet, but also to all other passengers in the vehicle.
“An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at 50 mph will exert roughly 500 pounds of pressure, while an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert 2,400 pounds of pressure,” says Beth Mosher, AAA Director of Public Affairs.
Many vehicles already come with special equipment packages that help keep your pet safety contained. As well, major pet stores and online retailers sell restraint harnesses and other devices to help keep you and your pooch safe on the road.
[Source: Consumer Reports]