August 11, 2014 – While man’s best friend may make a wonderful companion, they may not be the greatest partners when it comes to riding in a vehicle. Tens of thousands of vehicular accidents each year are thought to be caused by unrestrained pets. Whether they are hanging out a window or curled on a lap, the consequences can be deadly.
A recent news story in Tampa, Florida discussed an incident of a military veteran reunited with his dog. After suffering an unexpected car accident, the vet’s unrestrained dog, Nina was rattled and jumped out of the car and took off. A few days later, she made her way to a home owner in the area of the accident. The lady that owned the home quickly grew fond of Nina, but knew it would be best to track down the stray dog’s actual owner.
The vet had recently adopted the dog from the Humane Society in Tampa. After a bit of investigative work, she was able to track down the rightful owner of the dog. Fortunately for everyone in this story, they had a happy ending. However, others haven’t been so fortunate and properly restraining a pet could help prevent other situations such as this from occurring.
Lawmakers have put into place laws to ban cellphone usage and texting while driving. However, motorists driving with their pets running rampant inside a vehicle still exist. Unfortunately, situations like this can prove distracting when they start chewing on something that they shouldn’t or when they seek your attention while manning the car.
It was estimated that over 5,400 people were killed in car accidents caused by distracted driving in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, cellphones were the number one cause – however, they aren’t currently tracking the number of accidents caused by pet distractions. Famous author Stephen King suffered a collapsed lung and multiple broken bones when he was hit by a car whose driver was distracted by their pet. King gave interviews after the accident, and the emotional strain and anxiety derailed his writing career for quite a while after it happened.
Stephen King is someone that to most of us is larger than life, a celebrity of sorts. After his accident, though, he became someone that we could all identify with. Charleston attorneys, Howell and Christmas, have years of experience with the heightened emotional anxiety that people go through after a car wreck. They emphasize how important it is for you to understand your rights after this type of trauma, and that expert legal counsel can help answer many difficult questions you might have.
In a car crash, a pet left unrestrained can become a projectile, especially when the collision is forceful. They could also get crushed by the owners, passengers and objects flying around the car. Having your pet restrained can also prevent them from running away during the aftermath of a car accident, such as the incident with the military vet.
In another recent incident, an owner said her Maltese dog could have died if he hadn’t been restrained. On her way to a holiday gathering, the dog owner smashed into a barrier several times before coming to a complete stop. While the presents and Christmas treats flew throughout the vehicle, the dog was securely in place.
The Danger is Real
Nationwide insurance states that when you are traveling with your dog going a scant 35 miles per hour in your vehicle, your 60-pound canine becomes a 2,700 pound missile that ricochets throughout the vehicle or catapults through the windshield in a wreck. This can cause serious injuries, if not death. There are a number of methods that will help restrain your pet whether you’re driving down the block or traveling far on vacation. A crate or kennel provides both safety and security until you’ve arrived at your destination. Harnesses or straps can keep the crate secured while you travel. Car seat belts and harnesses are equally safe and are constructed to withstand the impact of a car accident.
It’s not uncommon to see a vehicle driving down the road with a pet hanging its head out of the window. While stringent laws may not currently be in place that restricts a pet to its rightful place, the owners can do their part by keeping both the roadway and pet safe with the proper restraints.
Holly Chavez comes from a military family and often contributes articles to military blogs and forums. She also has two dogs that think they’re humans, so they have to put on seat belts like regular folks when they go for a ride with the family.