For many dog owners, taking their pet along in the car with them is a common habit. In fact, according to AAA Pet Spot, 84 percent of dog owners responding to a recent survey indicated that their dog had come along with them in their vehicle on a trip, when running errands or when headed to a pet store or a dog park. 

While taking your canine along for the ride may be fun for your animal, it can be risky if a pet restraint system is not used. A dog can be a major distraction in the car and you could find yourself with an animal that turns into a projectile if you become involved in an accident. Despite the risks of an unrestrained pet, however, only 16 percent of dog owners said that they used a pet restraint system when their animal went along in their vehicle with them.

If a dog is in your car with you and is not restrained, you are taking a serious risk with your health, the animal’s health and the lives of everyone on the road. Victims involved in an accident with a driver distracted by a pet should consult with a personal injury attorney for more information about their right to compensation.

Unrestrained Pets are a Distraction and a Danger

When your dog is in the car with you, you may be distracted by caring for the canine. Responding to a recent survey, 29 percent of dog owners who took their pets in the car admitted that they had been distracted by the animal. Far more, however, had actually been distracted. In fact, 65 percent of people with a pet in the car participated in at least one distracting behavior that took their focus off of the road. For example:

  • 52 percent pet their dog while driving.
  • 17 percent let their pet sit in their lap while they were driving.
  • 13 percent had given food or treats to the dog while driving.
  • Four percent had played with the dog.

When drivers do these things, they are not focusing on what is going on around them and they are far more likely to become involved in a motor vehicle collision.

Unfortunately, if their animal is not restrained, their dog could become a danger when an accident happens. According to Esurance, a 10 pound dog generates as much as 500 pounds of force if a collision occurs when the car is going 50 miles per hour. If the car is going 30 miles per hour, an 80 pound dog inside of the vehicle could generate as much as 2,400 pounds of force when an accident happens. The dog could die and could seriously injure or even kill someone else who is in the car at the same time.

Dog owners need to understand these risks and should use a pet restraint system to avoid the danger. Special pet seat belts can protect your animal or you can use a pet carrier or crate that is secured when driving.

If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, personal injury attorneys in Louisville can help. Call Shelton Law Group today at 888-761-7204 or visit for a free case consultation.