You are probably familiar with the list of distractions usually responsible for car accidents: texting while driving, talking on your cell phone, eating, the GPS and your children fooling around in the car.
Well here’s another one to consider: if you are taking your family dog with you, there are additional things you should think about to avoid motor vehicle accidents.
Many people think about their dogs as affectionate friends, not as distractions on the road. But a new survey finds many drivers allow their dogs to ride with them in the car without restraints, increasing the risk for car accidents and serious injury to themselves and others, including the dogs.
The online survey by AAA and Kurgo, a manufacturer of pet travel products, polled 1,000 dog owners who had driven with their pets in the past year. More than half (56 percent) of the respondents reported driving with their dog at least once in the past month and 19 percent had taken their hands off the steering wheel to prevent their dog from jumping into the front seat.
Some 17 percent of the dog owners admitted to letting their dog sit on their laps as they drove and 13 percent said they fed their dog treats. Most alarming, 3 percent reported they had taken pictures of their dog while driving.
Only 16 percent reported putting their dog in a restraint while driving. Nearly 40 percent said they never considered buying a restraint and 42 percent said they believe their dogs are calm enough to ride without restraint.
While many of us have smiled at the sight of a dog hanging his head out of a car window, the survey highlights the fact that our dogs are becoming an increasing distraction on the roads. It is in everybody’s best interest to restrain animals in the car to avoid accidents.
The bottom line: Be your dog’s best friend. Get a proper restraint and avoid letting your dog be a dangerous distraction, even when just traveling around town on errands.
The Massachusetts car accident lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck have over 80 years combined experience handling motor vehicle collisions, truck accidents and pedestrian accidents. We serve communities across Massachusetts, including Boston, Lowell, Worcester and Framingham. If you have been injured in a traffic accident, contact us today at 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.