What Do Dogs Have to Do With Atlanta Distracted Driving Crashes?

When you think about distracted drivers in Atlanta, you probably picture a driver who is talking on a cell phone or texting.  You may even think of a harried mom driving with a van full of children.  But, do you think of drivers with dogs?
According to a new study by the insurance company, AAA, and Kurgo, a pet travel company, unrestrained dogs can be a dangerous distraction to drivers and may increase the risk of Atlanta car accidents.  The authors of the study polled 1,000 dog owners who had driven with their pets in the year before the survey.  While 83 percent of drivers said they knew it was unsafe to drive with an unrestrained pet, only 16 percent used pet restraints.   In addition, most of the drivers admitted to being distracted by their pets. 
What distractions did pet owners engage in?

  • 52% pet their dog while driving
  • 18% reached back to pet their dog
  • 17% allowed a dog to sit in their lap while driving
  • 19% of drivers had taken their hands off the wheel in order to keep their dog out of the front seat
  • 23% used their hands or arms to hold their dog in place when braking
  • 13% fed their dog food or treats
  • 3% took pictures of their dog

Anytime a driver's eyes are not on the road or both hands are not on the wheel, the risk of an accident increases.  
Unrestrained pets are not just a distraction; they are a serious hazard in an accident.  An unrestrained dog becomes a heavy projectile in a crash.  A 20-pound dog in a 30 m.p.h. crash can exert 600 pounds of pressure.  An 80-pound dog in a 50 m.p.h. crash can exert 4000 pounds of pressure.  This is dangerous to both the dog and the human occupants of the vehicle.
If you and your pet are in a Georgia accident, you may be able to receive limited compensation for your pet's medical care under your own property damage insurance.
If you'd like to discuss your accident with an Atlanta auto accident attorney, contact Shane Smith Law at (980) 246-2656

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