Pets and Distracted Driving on Summer Road Trips
Many pet owners who are planning on taking a summer road trip will be bringing their animals in the car with them on their vacation. According to CBS, 38 percent of people who owns pets say they bring the animals with them on car trips, including when they go on vacation. These pets, however, can cause problems in the car. While most people think of distracted driving as a phenomenon that happens when people use cell phones, animals can also be a major distraction behind the wheel that significantly increases the risk of a motor vehicle accident.
Having an unrestrained dog or cat in the car is dangerous to passengers in the vehicle with the animal, as well as to other motorists on the road. If a driver is distracted by a pet and causes a motor vehicle accident, the victims should consult a car accident lawyer in Janesville. It may be possible for those injured in the crash to make a claim for damages if they can prove the driver took unsafe and unnecessary risks by focusing on their pet instead of on the road.
PETS CAN CAUSE DISTRACTED DRIVING ACCIDENTS
With more than a third of pet owners bringing their animals on road trips, there will be a lot of drivers on the road who may be at risk of distracted driving collisions. According to Waxahachietx.com, only 29 percent of survey respondents admit they are distracted by having their pet in the car. However, the reality is that this is a significant underestimate. A full 84 percent of people who have their pets with them as they drive do not have the animal restrained in the car and unrestrained animals are almost always a distraction-related hazard.
One AAA study demonstrated that 64 percent of motorists engage in behaviors with their pets that are a distraction even if the owners do not realize it. These behaviors can range from giving treats to petting pets to putting the animals in their lap. Some pet owners (three percent) even said they have taken pictures of their pets in the car while they are driving the vehicle.
Even when not physically interacting with pets, the animals can be a distraction in a number of ways. Some dogs can become anxious and bark or jump around in the car. Others may want to crawl onto an owner’s lap for comfort, causing the owner to be distracted by the sudden presence of the animal.
When an accident happens, a dog or cat in the car that is unrestrained can become a projectile that flies around the vehicle and injures passengers in the car. The animal can also be badly hurt or killed, or may get lose on the road and cause further accidents as drivers swerve to avoid striking the animal.
Pet owners need to make the smart choice to restrain their animals in the car. When they do not and are distracted by their pet, victims who are hurt as a result should speak with a Janesville car accident lawyer as soon as possible.