Survey: Too many dogs in drivers' laps

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 A recent survey conducted by AAA and Kurgo asked dog owners how often they drive with their dog and about their habits behind the wheel. The survey found that drivers not only love to bring Fido along, but they also often engage in risky behaviors when man’s best friend is along for the ride.

Drivers distracted by dogs, many don’t realize it

One out of three respondents admit to being distracted by their dog while driving and 59 percent have participated in at least one distracting behavior while driving with their dog. More than half (55 percent) have pet their dog while driving, and 21 percent allowed their dog to sit in their lap. Other distracting behaviors drivers admitted include giving food and water to their dog (7 percent) and playing with their dog (5 percent). These behaviors can distract the driver and increase the risk of a crash. Research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that looking away from the road for only two seconds doubles your risk of being in a crash.

 Unrestrained dogs dangerous to driver, passenger and man’s best friend

About 80 percent of respondents stated that they have driven with their pets on a variety of car trips including day trips, local errands and leisure trips. However, only 17 percent use any form of pet restraint system when driving with their dog. Use of a pet restraint system can aid in limiting distractions and help protect you and your pet during a crash or sudden stop.

“Restraining your pet when driving can not only help protect your pet, but you and other passengers in your vehicle,” cautioned Jennifer Huebner-Davidson, AAA National, Traffic Safety Programs manager. “An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at 50 m.p.h. will exert roughly 500 pounds of pressure, while an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 m.p.h. will exert 2,400 pounds of pressure. Imagine the devastation that can cause to your pet and other occupants of the vehicle.”

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