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Pet Safety in Vehicles Print

  • June 28, 2015

We all remember the media frenzy and public uproar when Brittney Spears was photographed driving with her then infant son Sean Preston on her lap. This article talks about Pet Safety in Vehicles.

Yet, few of us bat an eye when dogs are seen on a driver’s lap, often with their paws on the steering wheel for balance. Not to mention canine passengers literally hanging out of windows or freely jumping around in the back of open pick-up trucks.

The dangers in all these pet travel scenarios are no different than having an unrestrained child on your lap or roaming free inside the vehicle.

Ultimately, unrestrained pets can be injured or killed in an accident, as well as cause injury or death to a vehicle’s human occupants. Further, in an accident, an unrestrained pet may be ejected or escape from the vehicle, becoming a danger to other motorists or could even be lost, injured or killed.

According to the American Automobile Association, unrestrained pets in vehicles are a dangerous distraction that ranks alongside texting, hand held cell phone conversations and eating while driving. We always strap babies and children into special car seats and secure our luggage for safety. Pets also need to be restrained for the safety of your loved ones.

It’s important to note that you don’t have to be traveling at high speeds for tragedy to strike. According to pet safety experts at Toyota, driving at a leisurely 35 mph and suddenly applying brakes can turn a 60 pound pet into a 2,700 pound projectile! In some states, restraining your pet is the law!

While many states have laws and fines related to driver distraction, only a handful of states actually have legislation in place that directly targets unrestrained pets in vehicles.

Connecticut, California, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Nevada, Washington, Oregon and Rhode Island have pet safety laws on the books that require pets to be restrained when transported in the back of pick-up trucks. While states such as Hawaii, Arizona, Connecticut and Maine ban driving with your pet on your lap.  In New Jersey, improper pet transportation is a citable offense, with the interpretation left up to traffic officers.

Unfortunately, all too often, these laws are not enforced.

According to the last pet survey done by the AAA in 2011, 83 per cent of the respondents acknowledged not restraining their pets in vehicles.

Excuses such as “my dog doesn’t like to sit in the back seat” or “my dog gets nervous when they are not next to me” are simply not acceptable. As a pet parent, you have options to safely restrain your pets in a vehicle. As a responsible pet parent, you are obligated to keep your pet and your family safe and pay attention to Pet Safety in Vehicles.

CRATES: The crash tested all steel Variocage, which is available in 14 sizes, is without a doubt the safest option.  These crates have been crash tested to the highest international standards to withstand front, rear and side impacts, as well as rollovers. Like your vehicle, they have a built In crumple zone to absorb impact and reduce potential injury to occupants. Engineered by professional automotive crash test engineers in Sweden, Variocage has a perfect history of safety. Always remember, for optimal safety of pets and people, crates must be used and installed as per the manufacturer’s recommendations and instructions.

HARNESSES: A crash tested dog harness, such as the AllSafe Harness, is another excellent option. This harness is designed to work with your vehicle’s standard seat belt system and to be comfortable for both short and long distance travel. Further, by hooking a leash to the AllSafe’s separate walking D-Ring, you can safely and easily remove your dog from the vehicle and be on your way. Always remember, for optimal safety of pets and people, harnesses must be used and installed as per the manufacturer’s recommendations and instructions.

BARRIERS: Secure, quality engineered cargo barriers, add another level of protection by preventing a dog in the rear of a vehicle from causing a distraction or impacting the driver and passengers Crash Tested barriers such as the Variogate Barrier are unique and can withstand the extreme forces generated during an accident and provide optimal safety. Again, it is necessary to ensure they have been installed to the manufacturer’s specifications to meet the their safety standards.

CARRIERS: There are soft sided carriers made from ballistic nylon available for smaller dogs and cats. The safest place to put a carrier is on the floor of the rear passenger section since there is a minimal amount of space for the carrier to project forward should impact occur. Check to see whether the carrier has a crash-tested certification.

DOGGIE BOOSTER SEATS:  The most common excuse given by pet parents for having a dog on their lap is “my dog likes to see out of the window.” A crash tested doggie booster seat placed in the 2nd row seat of a vehicle will give a small dog a great view and keep them restrained to prevent them from interfering with the driver. Never place a dog in any restraint or safety device on the front passenger seat. Airbags can be a lethal “weapon” for a pet traveling in your vehicle.

“Your commitment to your pet is for life … so is ours”

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