Pets Can Be a Deadly Distraction for West Palm Beach Drivers

Dogs love riding in cars and many motorists in West Palm Beach take their canine family members with them when they get in their vehicle. Unfortunately, having a pet in the car can be very risky for motorists. 

A driver with a pet in the car may be distracted and may endanger himself and others. Victims of a collision with a distracted driver need to understand their legal rights and should consult with a personal injury attorney.

Pets are a Dangerous Distraction for West Palm Beach Drivers

Esurance provides disturbing information about the major risks associated with having pets in your vehicle with you when you are driving.

According to a 2011 survey jointly conducted by AAA and Kurgo 65 percent of people who drive with their dogs admit that they have reached back, taken photos, held down their pet, or pet their dog while they were driving.

It takes just two seconds of driving while distracted to significantly increase the risk of a collision according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Drivers who look away to deal with their pets may look away for much longer and are not focusing their full attention on the road.

If a driver does get into a collision when distracted by a pet, the animal may be at risk and may endanger everyone in the car. An unrestrained pet can turn into a projectile and fly around the vehicle, striking occupants. A 10-pound dog that is not restrained can generate as much as 500 pounds of force if the animal is in a car that crashes while the vehicle is going at least 50 miles per hour. An 80-pound dog can generate around 2,400 pounds of force even in a collision where the driver is going just 20 miles per hour.

Avoiding Dangerous Distractions

Although your pet can be dangerous, you don’t have to give up taking your dog along. There are plenty of ways to travel safely and avoid the risk a pet can present. For example, there are two common ways to restrain your pet both to prevent the dog from distracting you and to ensure the pet doesn’t fly around the car in a collision.

One option is to use a pet seat belt. These seat belts should be purchased separately as using human seat belts is ineffective and dangerous. Pet seat belts should be sized appropriately for your animal and they work in tandem with regular car belts. Pets in seat belts should sit in the back seat and not the front as air bags can cause serious injuries to animals.

Pet carriers are also a safe way to transport your pet in the car. Be sure to select a carrier that has enough room for your dog to turn around in and to stretch out in. The carrier should have plenty of room and you should secure it within the car so it stays safely in place if you get into a collision or if you are forced to break suddenly.

Personal injury attorneys in West Palm Beach can help. Call Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. today at 800-608-2965 or visit http://www.gonzalezcartwright.com/ to schedule a free consultation. 

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