I was in the passenger seat of this car
Last night I was in a high speed crash and my seatbelt saved my life. This got me thinking, what if one or both of my dogs had been in the backseat? Most people, including me, do not consider installing seatbelts for their pets even though they know the consequences of not being restrained in an accident. According to AAA less than 16 percent of pet owners use any form of pet restraint system when driving with their dog.
Seatbelts decrease a person's risk of death by about 50 percent. If you are not restrained you will hit the dashboard, steering wheel or windshield with more vulnerable parts of your body such as your head. A seatbelt, however, applies the necessary stopping force to the most durable parts of your body, while allowing you to shift forward slightly so the force is not as abrupt.
So now consider this: a 50-pound unrestrained dog in a car traveling 60 miles an hour will exert 3000 pounds of force during a crash. This poses a serious risk to any person in the car who may be and of course to the dog who will likely suffer serious injuries or possibly death.
In several states (Arizona, Connecticut and Maine) distracted-driving laws can be used to charge drivers with pets on their lap, and in Hawaii it is illegal for a driver to have a pet on their lap. However, no states have any laws requiring that pets be restrained. Considering the threat an unrestrained pet poses to not only the animal, but also to any passengers in the vehicle, maybe it is time to propose a new law.
Several companies are making seat belts for dogs, including SleepyPod, which has proven to be the most effective in restraining pets. If using a pet carrier or crate be sure to restrain it, and keep in mind barriers that keep your dog from entering the front of the car do not offer much protection for your pet. If you decide to bring your pet along for a ride keep in mind that restraining your pet is the safest thing you can do for both your pet and for yourself.
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