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Subaru Seeks to Make Car Crashes Safer for Dogs

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Your dog probably doesn’t have a good chance of surviving a severe crash, but Subaru hopes to change that. 

According to a survey conducted by AAA in 2011, only 16 percent of owners restrain their dogs while driving. Even those that do might be wasting their effort. This year, Subaru began funding research by the nonprofit Center for Pet Safety to better understand the dangers of driving with a dog. Among other things, the study found that harnesses often break during a crash. The dog is often send headfirst to the front of the car.

A big part of the problem is that most manufacturers don’t offer strong enough anchor points for the harnesses owners buy for their dogs.

Safety systems designed to protect people are regulated to the point where even something as trivial as a mis-labelled door jamb can be cause for a product recall. Pet safety, on the other hand, is almost entirely ignored, even though a dog can easily distract the driver.

“We’d like to see something developed over time, but it’s not really our job,” Subaru marketing manager Dave Sullivan told Automotive News. “We’re trying to do our best to raise the issue.”

Tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or SAE International could offer a solution to the problem, Sullivan said.

A second round of tests involves a series of simulated crashes using something called an “accelerator sled,” that runs along a track at high speeds and abruptly stops to simulate a crash.

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[Source: Automotive News]