Distracted Driving & Dogs: New Study
Back in June, we reported on a woman driving with fifteen cats running loose in her vehicle. The South Dakota Supreme Court ruled that the officer who pulled her over and seized the cats was in the right, because all those cats created an extremely distracting and dangerous driving environment.
Now it’s time to talk about dogs. AAA Colorado and Kurgo Pet Travel Products have just released the findings of a national AAA survey, which are in line with the South Dakota decision: dogs loose in the car pose additional risks for drivers.
Denver Business Journal brings us some of the details of the study:
According to the national survey, 31 percent of respondents said they’d been distracted by their dog while driving, and 59 percent had participated in at least one distracting behavior while driving with their dog. More than half — 55 percent — had pet their dog while driving, and 21 percent allowed their dog to sit in their lap. Seven percent said they had given food or water to their dog while driving, and 5 percent said they had played with their dog.
Eighty percent of respondents said they’d driven with their pets, and only 17 percent said they used any form of pet restraint.
Sine AAA Colorado reports that 43% of Colorado household’s have dogs, these numbers are particularly relevant.
Andrea Lopez of CBS 4 Denver explains a few of the safety concerns associated with having a dog in the car.
‘If an airbag would deploy and your dog was in the front seat, it could certainly seriously injure the dog,’ Wave Dreher with AAA Colorado said. ‘Also, people need to be aware that even a small, 10-pound lap dog can become a missile in a car. If you stop the car at 50 miles per hour, that 10 pound dog suddenly has 500 pounds of force flying around the interior of your car.’
All you need is two seconds with your eyes off the road and your risk of being in an accident doubles, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Two seconds of scratching behind your dog’s ear could be disastrous for you, your dog and anyone else in your car or on the road at that time.