Click It or Ticket?

Nov 14, 2016

Planning to bring the dog along in the car as you head out for your holiday road trip? Be sure to consider your pet’s car safety before pulling out of the driveway. Just as you should always wear your seatbelt to protect you in case of a collision, your pet should also be properly restrained. Yet, 98% of dogs travel unrestrained in a moving car, reports the American Automobile Association (AAA).

Pet restraint in the car is essential to not only their safety, but yours as well. Dogs loose in cars can be hazardous. Many drivers allow their pet to move freely about and some even allow their dogs to ride in their laps. If your pet is unrestrained during a collision or sudden braking situation, one can be easily thrown around and become seriously injured.

The distraction of a dog can easily take your attention away from driving. Even if your dog is a perfect angel, an accident can still occur. Per the 2010 AAA survey, 2 out of 3 owners engage in distracting behaviors when pets are in the car and every 18 minutes an accident occurs due to a loose pet in a vehicle.

In 2012, New Jersey made history when it became the first state in the country to require drivers to restrain their pets when they are travelling in the car. The law carries stiff fines for drivers who don't comply, ranging from $250 to $1000. Other states, such as Hawaii, Connecticut, Illinois and Maine have banned motorists from driving with pets in their laps.

Be sure that your pet is safely secured in your vehicle. Utilizing a pet safety harness, travel kennel, vehicle pet barrier or pet car seat are the best ways to keep your pet safe. No matter what method you choose, back seat travel is always safer for your pet.

Before you put your pet in the vehicle, ask yourself if you need to take your pet with you – and if the answer is no, leave your pet safely at home. If you must take your pet with you, make sure your dog is properly restrained so the trip is as safe as possible for both of you.

Michelle Mayers, VMD