Most dogs enjoy being in the car as more often than not a car journey means you’re taking them somewhere for walkies! But as you are on your way, does it distract you if your dog is hopping back and forth in the car and trying to sit on your lap when you’re driving?
While there are no statistics available for the number of car accidents caused by unrestrained dogs, a recent AA survey revealed that 31% of drivers admit to being distracted by their dog while driving.
You wouldn’t think twice about putting a seatbelt on yourself or your children, so should dogs be treated any different?
Last week it was announced that the Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar was consulting with the Road Safety Authority on the proposal of seatbelts for dogs. Noel Griffin the chief executive of the ISPCA welcomes this proposal. Speaking to Newstalk the other day, he said “It’s a really good idea to have dogs restrained in the car. People are inclined to put cats into carriers but leave dogs roam free. This is a major safety issue and can cause injury to both the driver and the dog. Even if people put barriers up to keep the dogs in the back seat, I’d be a lot happier. It probably won’t become legislation but it’ more a case of making people aware of the dangers than enforcing a law”.
Irish pet shop chain Petmania have also come out in support of the Minister and believe that dogs should be restrained in a vehicle to protect themselves and other passengers.
Emily Miller, Marketing Manager for Petmania has said ” We definitely endorse Mr.Varadkar’s proposal for restraining dogs while travelling, and actively encourage dog owners to use seat restraints or carriers even if it’s not been brought into law that they must do so. It is in everyone’s interest, including the dog’s, to ensure everyone reaches their destination safely when travelling, and restraints for travelling dogs are part of this.”
In many countries including America, it’s the law that dogs must be restrained in the car. Arizona, Connecticut, Maine and New Jersey issue fines of up to $1,000 for drivers who are caught with dogs on their laps while driving. In Hawaii it is completely forbidden and in many other states the process of legislation is underway. Driving with a dog in your lap is also compared with driving while texting or while under the influence of alcohol by many.
A dog that is not properly secured in a car can cause serious damage. If a car is travelling at 50 mph (80km) and has an accident, a loose dog that weighs 10lb (4.5kg) will fly forward with an effective weight of 833lb (377kg). This dog could hit off the driver, a passenger or the windshield, causing injury or possibly death to itself or others. Even if you are driving at a slow speed, should you need to break suddenly the dog could seriously harm themselves as they will hit the back of the seats or the dashboard.
By securing your dog you will ensure a safe and comfortable journey for both you and your pet.