Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Dog Distractions While Driving (from the AAA)

With the summer and traveling, many people take their pets along. It is important to minimize any risks in relation to the pets in the car with you. Here are some tips from the AAA.

Doggie Distractions
Fact Sheet
39 percent of U.S. households (45.6 million) have a dog, according to American Pet Products Association.
1 out of 3 dog owners admit to being distracted by their dog while driving, however twice as many (2 out of
3) admit to engaging in distracting activities with their dog while driving, according to the AAA/Kurgo survey.
Looking away from the road for only two seconds doubles your risk of being in a crash, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes
involving a distracted or inattentive driver and more than half a million were injured. However, many traffic
safety experts believe the actual number to be substantially higher.

Only 17 percent of dog owners who have driven with their pet use some form of pet restraint while their
dog is in their vehicle, according to the survey by AAA and Kurgo.

An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at 50 mph will exert roughly 500 pounds of force, while an
unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert approximately 2400 pounds of force.

Of the 17 percent of drivers who use a pet restraint, the AAA/Kurgo survey found the most frequently used are:
  • Pet harness/safety belt (52 percent)
  • Hard-sided pet travel crate (28 percent)
  • Pet vehicle seat (18 percent)
  • Soft-sided pet travel crate (13 percent)
  • Vehicle pet barrier (9 percent)
The AAA and Kurgo survey found the types of trips dog owners most frequently take with their dog include:
  • Leisure ride (88 percent)
  • Local errands (85 percent)
  • Trips to the local pet store (81 percent)
  • Day trips (80 percent)
Of the 17 percent of drivers who use a pet restraint system, the AAA/Kurgo survey found they are most
likely to use it while driving on a day trip with their dog (90 percent always or frequently use a restraint
system), however they are least likely to restrain their dog when driving to the dog park (one out of 10 rarely
or never use a restraint system).

When traveling in a vehicle, the AAA/Kurgo survey found the locations most dog owners place their pet
  • Back seat (54 percent)
  • Front seat (26 percent)
  • Rear cargo area (17 percent)
  • Pick-up truck bed (2 percent)
Similar to a young child, the front airbag system in a vehicle can be deadly to a dog during a crash if sitting in
the front seat, even if restrained.

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