Make us your home page
Instagram

Unrestrained dogs in car often a dangerous distraction

Fido may love to ride in the car, but too many owners are putting themselves and their beloved pets in danger by engaging in distracting behaviors on the road, according to one recent survey of dog owners.

The survey — conducted by the American Automobile Association and Kurgo, a manufacturer of pet travel products — examined the behind-the-wheel habits of dog owners who travel with their pets.

Nearly six in 10 drivers — 56 percent of respondents — said they travel by car with their dog at least once a month. Respondents admitted to petting their dogs (52 percent), taking their hands off the wheel to hold the dog while braking (23 percent), and using their hands to prevent the dog from getting into the front seat (19 percent), according to the survey.

The AAA foundation for traffic safety said that looking away from the road for 2 seconds doubled the chance of being in a crash.

Only 16 percent of respondents said they used a pet restraint when traveling with their furry companions, while more than 83 percent acknowledged that an unrestrained dog in the car can be dangerous.

"Drivers should use a pet restraint system for their dog every time the pet is in the vehicle," said Cathleen Lewis, director of public affairs for the Florham Park-based AAA New Jersey Automobile Club. "A restraint will not only limit distractions, but also protect the driver, the pet and other passengers in the event of a crash or sudden stop."

At a New Jersey PetSmart recently, Marge Andrews said she drives with her dog, but does not use a harness to safeguard Bella, a Yorkshire and Boston terrier mix puppy she rescued just two weeks ago. "She sits in the seat next to me, staring out the window," she said.

Another dog owner, Diane Lombardi, said she sees people on the road, distracted by their dogs all the time and suggests owners invest in a harness or seat belt.

"If you love your dog, treat them like you would a baby," said Lombardi. "Would you leave your baby loose in a car? If the dog is not tied down and you have an accident, they could end up running off or worse. It's absurd not to use a harness."

Barbara B. Goldberg, owner of two rescue dogs, a Finnish Spitz mix and a Basenji Thai Ridgeback mix, says she uses harnesses. She keeps them comfortable and safe by also tying them to the back seat headrests of her Subaru Forester. "I'm concerned about their safety, as well as mine and anyone on the road," she said.

Goldberg also keeps a body pillow in the back seat to provide additional comfort for the dogs and less chance of distraction for her. "They ride in better comfort than I do."

Raul Martinez, who was shopping with his wife, Belinda, and their two dogs at PetSmart, admits that he used to drive with the dogs in his lap when they were puppies, but said it's "irresponsible" to drive with a dog that could distract you on a trip.

"I guess it's just as distracting to have a child in your car, but we bring a carrying case with us for the dogs," Belinda said.

Three percent of respondents admitted to taking pictures of their dog with cell phones while driving.

"That crosses the line," said Renee Hooker, 21. "It parallels texting while driving."

Andrews called it irresponsible. "I would never take pictures of her while driving, that's just ridiculous," she said. "I'm aggravated when I see people on their cell phones, driving."

Unrestrained dogs in car often a dangerous distraction 08/11/11 [Last modified: Thursday, August 11, 2011 12:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, The Record (Hackensack N.J.).
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Google tracking real-world sales as well as online ads

    Business

    SAN FRANCISCO — Google already monitors your online shopping — but now it's also keeping an eye on what you're buying in real-world stores as part of its latest effort to sell more digital advertising.

     Google already monitors your online shopping - but now it's also keeping an eye on what you're buying in real-world stores as part of its latest effort to sell more digital advertising. 
[Associated Press]

  2. Labor Department green-lights retirement savings rule

    Personal Finance

    WASHINGTON — A Labor Department rule that would set higher standards for the advice brokers give to retirement savers will go into effect June 9 without further delay, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said Monday.

  3. Report: CEOs got biggest raise since 2013 with Charter Communications CEO on top

    Corporate

    NEW YORK — The typical CEO at the biggest U.S. companies got an 8.5 percent raise last year, raking in $11.5 million in salary, stock and other compensation last year, according to a study by executive data firm Equilar for The Associated Press. That's the biggest raise in three years.

    Charter Communications CEO Thomas Rutledge -- whose company took over Bright House Networks last year -- was the highest paid CEO in 2016, according to a study carried out by executive compensation data firm Equilar and The Associated Press. 
[Associated Press file photo]
  4. For Gov. Rick Scott, 'fighting' could mean vetoing entire state budget

    State Roundup

    Every day, Gov. Rick Scott is getting a lot of advice.

    The last time a Florida governor vetoed the education portion of the state budget was in 1983. Gov. Bob Graham blasted fellow Democrats for their “willing acceptance of mediocrity.”
  5. Potential new laws further curb Floridians' right to government in the Sunshine

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — From temporarily shielding the identities of murder witnesses to permanently sealing millions of criminal and arrest records, state lawmakers did more this spring than they have in all but one of the past 22 years to chip away at Floridians' constitutional guarantees to access government records and …

    The Legislature passed 17 new exemptions to the Sunshine Law, according to a tally by the First Amendment Foundation.