It’s almost summer and time to hit the road for your vacation. Millions of families will be on road trips with their kids and pets. But according to the Pet Products Manufacturing Association (APPMA), over 40 million pets are expected to hit the roads this vacation season with their owners and they will not be properly restrained, causing potential safety hazards and possible personal injury. Currently there are over 71 million Americans who own pets and over 80% of them admit to never using a restraint device to keep them secure.
The restraint laws for children and adults are quite clear, but for animals such as dogs and cats, they are allowed to roam freely inside the vehicle but must be restrained in the back of a pick-up type vehicle unless the sides of the truck are at least 46 inches high. Another potentially new Californian law was introduced this week in Sacramento. California Assembly Bill 2233 would make it illegal to carry your favorite pet on your lap. It passed the assembly and now is facing a senate vote.
Traveling with pets can be dangerous for both your pets and yourself. Many things can cause driving distractions; including talking on your cell phone, music, eating, children and of course pets can become a distraction while driving. They may see another dog, move around, or just see something that irritates them. These can all be distractions for the driver. Of course if the driver must stop instantly, the dog or cat can become a flying projectile, injuring themselves and possibly someone in the car. For example, an unsecured 60 pound dog could hit a window, backseat or another passenger with a force of 1,200 pounds in a 30 mile-per-hour collision.
One alternative to keeping your pet safe while driving is to either secure them in a restraint device or keep them in a crate. These devices will limit distractions and keep your pet safe. Although your pet may not like them at first, after taking them on short rides, they will eventually get used to them.
Restraint devices are designed to anchor your dog to a firm place in the car. Most systems will still allow the animal the ability to move, stretch, lie down and of course, stick their nose out the window of the car. After anchoring the system to the automobile’s passenger restraint systems, the harness will fit over the upper back and chest of the animal. For a complete selection of restraint products for your pet, visit the Pet Products Manufacturing Association www.appma.org and search restraint products. Also you can shop at any larger pet retail store.
Remember, it is your responsibility to keep your pet safe, whether you’re in your automobile or not. Since so many people drive with their pets now, some insurance companies are now even covering personal injury to one’s pet. Check your policy to see if you’re covered.
For all the reasons that we buckle up our children and ourselves, let’s not forgot about the “other” four legged members of our family as well. But most of all let’s not have an accident that could cause injury or death to another or to our family.