Because dogs make excellent companion animals, they are popular with Americans. In fact, almost 40% of U.S. households have at least one canine. Many dog lovers, of course, like to take their pets with them when they drive. Sometimes, dog owners also may have little choice but to transport their pooches to a veterinarian or groomer.
When a dog is a passenger in a car, its owner must secure the animal. Unsecured dogs may increase car accident risk in a few different ways.
While it is gruesome to think about, an unsecured dog may become a missile-like projectile in a car accident. Even if the animal does not weigh much, it may cause a serious or potentially life-threatening injury when colliding with a driver or passenger.
Unsecured dogs may move around inside moving vehicles. They may also bark, growl or otherwise behave unpredictably. If drivers divert their attention from the road to calm or reposition their dogs, they may inadvertently cause a distracted driving crash.
To drive safely and responsibly, motorists must be able to see through all their windows. They must also have a clear view of their mirrors. Large dogs may form sight barriers, potentially obscuring other vehicles, pedestrians and driving hazards.
Ultimately, every driver on the road has a responsibility to behave reasonably. Having an unsecured dog in the car may violate this obligation. Consequently, before traveling with a dog, motorists should secure the animal inside a crate or with a tether to help minimize car accident risk.