Stop Treating Dogs Like Hood Ornaments
It is no secret that many people throughout the United States love their dogs, treat them like members of their families, take them everywhere they go, and even from time to time refer to them as “fur babies.”
As a matter of fact, the American Veterinary Medical Association states that close to 50 million American households own dogs. This is about 40 percent of all households, making it the most popular type of animal to own.
While we know and understand that it is difficult to be away from your dog several hours of the day, we believe there are certain times when dog owners should refrain from taking their dog along with them. So we support a new law in Florida for having the right idea. This new animal welfare law is aiming to reduce the dangerous things people do with their dogs, such as driving while their dog rides on their laps, riding on motorcycles with a dog placed in front of them, driving with dogs in the back of their pickup trucks, and more.
Some people may be very angry if Arizona proposed legislation like this, but it would be to improve the wellbeing and safety of animals across the state. In addition, it also ensures that people have more control over the vehicle and are not distracted by their pets while driving. Overall, this bill sounds like a good idea when it comes to promoting safety and having the best interest at heart for not only human drivers, but their four-legged friends as well.
Dangerous behaviors put pets AND people at risk
When individuals think about distracted driving, their minds most likely do not think of instances with pets involved. However, this is the reality we are living in, and it happens every single day. In fact, we bet many automobile drivers would admit to petting their animals, allowing them to sit on their laps, placing their paws on the steering wheel, playing with them, giving them treats, taking photos of them, allowing them to lean out the driver’s side window while driving, and more. In addition, some motorcycle and bicycle owners allow their pets to ride with them from point A to point B (and film it so the world can see).
These types of behaviors can lead to dangerous and even deadly car accidents. The reason for this is because dogs and other animals are a distraction to people when they drive. If they are allowed to roam free in the vehicle, they are most likely jumping on you, barking at you, moving from seat to seat, and trying to get you to play. Some animals may even get nervous or sick in the car, which can cause you to need to pay attention to them. This is extremely reckless as it can take your full attention away from driving the vehicle, and, when this happens, you can quickly begin to swerve into other lanes, run off the road, run a stop light or sign, drive over the speed limit, and more.
How to keep your dog safe while traveling
If you cannot endure the thought of leaving your dog at home while you go somewhere, there are a few different steps you can take to keep your dog safe while traveling, such as:
- Purchasing a dog seat belt and buckling them up while you drive
- Placing your dog in a crate or cage while you drive
- Installing a dog guard to keep your dog in the backseat
- Giving yourself enough time to make frequent stops to allow your dog to roam around and get some exercise
- Never placing your dog in the trunk of your car or the back of your pickup truck
- Not allowing your dog to put its head or body out the window
- Ensuring that your dog is away from people or passengers to minimize risks of dog bites
Note that these are good ideas for protecting your pooch, too. According to The Wildest, “Unrestrained pets… can hit the dashboard or the windshield in an accident; if the airbag deploys, a dog in the front seat can be crushed.” They can be thrown into a front seat from a backseat, or jump out into traffic through a window. So really, a seat belt is good for them, too.
Does driving with pets in the car actually lead to more accidents?
Volvo conducted a study a few years ago on distracted driving with unrestrained pets. Their results indicated that when pets are unrestrained and allowed to roam around the vehicle, drivers are twice as likely to be distracted and almost three times as likely to make dangerous driving mistakes. These statistics show that an unrestrained dog can increase your chances of being in an accident as well as injuring yourself, someone else, or even causing fatalities.
How a Phoenix car accident attorney can protect your rights
If you believe you were injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver with a pet, a personal injury lawyer from Plattner Verderame, PC can assist you. We will collect the proper evidence such as witness statements, video footage, photographs, medical records, police reports, and other related information that will help us determine how your accident happened and who is responsible.
If you saw an animal loose in the vehicle, this is a problem that we will bring up to the defendant’s insurance company and legal representatives. Our team is aware of the struggles that car accident victims face, which is why we will handle all the communication and ensure that the compensation you receive is a fair amount to cover your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, property damage, and more.
After a car accident, we understand that the last thing you want to do is go through a difficult legal process. Therefore, our team at Plattner Verderame, PC, will do everything we can to ensure that the process remains as stress-free as possible for you. We will go over all necessary information with you, explain what we think you should do, and only reach out if there is an urgent matter that we need your help addressing. Call our office, or submit our contact form to schedule a free consultation at our Tempe or Phoenix offices.
I have been active in leadership in the Arizona Association for Justice (lawyers who represent injured folks, and formerly known as the Arizona Trial Lawyers Association) since 1985. I served as President in 1991. I was an active participant in battles to protect the Arizona Constitution from the insurance industry and big business interests in 1986, 1990 and 1994.
Read more about Richard Plattner