Maryland Dog Lovers: Unrestrained Canines in Cars Pose Distracted Driving Hazards, AAA Study Says

Does your dog ride shotgun in your car, truck or SUV — his head hanging out the window and tongue flapping in the breeze? Or is your beloved pooch planted happily on your lap as you drive on Baltimore County, Maryland streets and highways? We’ve all seen them go by and smiled.

But according to a new AAA report, canines cavorting in moving autos can distract the drivers and cause deadly car crashes.

The report found that only 17 percent of members surveyed restrain their dogs in their motor vehicles. The majority drive with their dogs loose in the car — which could distract the driver and cause a traffic accident. The report also found that…

  • Unrestrained dogs become projectiles in an automobile accident: a 10 lb. dog can exert 500 pounds of force on whatever it strikes in a 50 mph accident, while an 80 lb. dog exerts 2,400 pounds of force in a 35 mph traffic accident.
  • Dogs, like small children, should not ride in the passenger seat, as they could become seriously injured if the air bag deploys (the same risk posed to small children).

The ASPCA recommends that everyone who has a pet in the car invest in a back-seat harness or crate to keep dogs, passengers and drivers safe. So Baltimore and other Maryland drivers, when we say buckle up — that goes for everyone in the car.

Caution: Dogs behind wheel
CNNMoney.com Aug. 18, 2010
Dogs unrestrained in cars distract drivers, pose threat
USA Today Aug. 17, 2010
Related Web Resources

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

ASPCA Car Travel Tips