Pets in cars as distracting as texting while driving
There are a number of driving distractions: eating, talking on a cell phone, texting… But driving with your dog in the car puts you at the same risk as texting while driving.
According to a new survey from American Automobile Association (AAA), traveling with your pet in your car ranks 3rd in a list of driving distraction, right behind talking on a cell phone and texting while driving. 80% of drivers admitted to bringing their animal in their car, but less than 25% keep them restrained. Also, the survey showed that 2 drivers out of 3 who travel with their dog said they often drive while petting or playing with their dog, more than half of owners pet their dogs while driving, and one in five allowed their dogs to sit in their lap.
The AAA study found that if a 10-pound dog is loose in a car and it crashes at 50 miles per hour, the pet could exert 500 pounds of pressure – endangering both the pet and anyone in its path. Taking your eyes off the road even for a mere 2 seconds has the potential to double your risk of being in a car crash.
“Millions of Americans recognize that dogs are wonderful companions and bring their favorite furry friend along on road trips, day trips and even day-to-day errands. However, in a vehicle this can mean added distractions for the driver,” said John B. Townsend II, of AAA, in a press statement.
So far, only a few states — Connecticut, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Washington — require drivers to secure their animals when they are in an open area of a vehicle, such as the back of a pickup truck.
Source: Fox News, August 19, 2010; The Money Times, August 20, 2010