Why Should Pets be Restrained in the Car?

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Baltimore car accident lawyers discuss why pets should be restrained in the car.We all know how important it is to buckle our seat belts every time we are the car, whether we are in the driver’s seat, the passenger seat, or in the backseat. We make sure that children are safely restrained in the appropriate car seat based on their age and weight. However, when bringing the family pet along for the ride, the animal is rarely restrained by a harness or seat belt. Oftentimes, the animal can be seen sitting on the driver’s lap while they are driving. According to a recent study, unrestrained pets can be a major distraction to the driver, increasing the chance of a serious car accident.

“Volvo Reports: Keeping Pets Safe on the Road” is a pet-travel safety study that looked at how Americans traveled with their pets, and whether pets impacted their behavior while driving. Two thousand adults aged 18 and older participated in an online survey, 1,433 of whom were pet owners. Fifteen licensed drivers participated in an observational study. Researchers learned about some of the concerns that Americans have about traveling with their pets. They were also able to observe pet owners’ behavior while driving by using in-car camera recordings. Over the course of four weeks, researchers observed participants driving with their dogs, both restrained and unrestrained.

Dangers of Unrestrained Dogs

Researchers learned that having an unrestrained dog in the car had the following impact on the driver:

  • Increase in unsafe driving behaviors: When the dog was restrained, there were 274 unsafe driving behaviors, compared to 649 unsafe driving behaviors when the dog was unrestrained.
  • Rise in distracted driving: When dogs were restrained, drivers were distracted for 99 minutes versus 219 minutes when the dog was not restrained.
  • Higher stress levels: When the dogs were unrestrained, there was an increase in stress levels in both dogs and humans. When the dogs were restrained, heart rates dropped by up to 34 beats among drivers.

Researchers involved in the Volvo study did find some results that were encouraging. Overall, there was an increased awareness of how distracting it can be to have an unrestrained pet in the car. In addition, over 75 percent of respondents felt that people do not take dog safety seriously enough, particularly as it related to car travel. In fact, approximately one third of dog owners said that they chose to leave their dog at home because they were concerned about safety issues. Two-thirds of respondents said that manufacturers should install updated safety features, including restraints for pets, and close to half said that they would be more likely to purchase a vehicle if it came with these features.

Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Compensation for Car Accident Victims

If you were injured in a car accident involving another driver whose pet was not properly restrained, you are urged to contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Our skilled legal team will determine who is responsible for causing the accident. We are committed to protecting your rights and will work tirelessly to secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson,allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.