Nearly everyone would agree that certain activities lead to dangerous driving distractions. Activities such as texting, eating and personal grooming all require a driver’s focus and attention to be pulled from the road. Unfortunately, there are other activities that might seem necessary, but can ultimately prove dangerous.
While vehicle passengers can be a serious driver distraction, most people do not realize the dangers their pets can represent during a car ride. Survey results compiled by Kurgo and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety contained numerous interesting facts, including:
- 65% of dog owners admit to engaging in at least one potentially distracting activity while driving with their pet in the vehicle. These activities included petting the dog, playing with the dog, giving food to the dog and restricting the dog’s movement while turning or applying the brakes.
- 84% of survey respondents admitted to bringing dogs on road trips and subsequently do not use restraints.
- 18% of survey respondents who drive with a dog in the vehicle also have children under 13 in the vehicle. Of those responding, 7 out of 10 noted that they had traveled with the young child and an unrestrained dog at the same time.
- The front airbag of the vehicle can be deadly to an unrestrained pet if it deploys in the event of a motor vehicle collision.
Pets in the vehicle pose an automatic distraction as drivers are concerned about the activity going on around them. Whether the unrestrained pet is moving from seat to seat, licking the driver or jumping from window to window, they can represent hazardous distractions. Drivers will often attempt to soothe the animal through petting, reward the animal with treats or restrain the animal when sudden driving maneuvers are required. These distractions can all lead to devastating motor vehicle collisions.