Distracted driving is a term that encompasses many general behaviors while driving. State laws typically define distracted driving as doing something while driving a motor vehicle which:
- Is not needed to operate the vehicle successfully; and
- Harms (or could reasonably harm) the driver’s ability to safely drive.
State statutes might also state that one cannot engage in specific activities while driving. Things like personal care, writing, reading, and other distractions in the vehicle.
Most states are now paying attention to driving with an unrestrained pet in the car, which is another kind of distracted driving. No stats are available about how many accidents are caused by vehicles containing unrestrained pets, but to any honest observer, there is clear danger potential.
Dangers of Pets on the Loose in a Car
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says that taking your eyes from the road for 2 seconds doubles (2x) your chance of a Greensboro Car Crash. A surprised pet could cause a two-second response from a driver and lead to a deadly crash. Add to this the idea that in a collision at fifty miles per hour, an 10-pound dog in the cabin creates an approximately 500 pound of force impact.
Besides possible injuries and fines, there are things to think about when traveling with a loose pet in the car. If there is an crash, and the driver with the unrestrained pet is at fault, their insurance company might deny their claim. This could be financially overwhelming.
State Laws on Pets on the Loose
In the state of NJ, pets in moving motor vehicles must be held in a carrier or they must wear a doggie seat belt. Failure to do this can result in a fine of $250 to One-thousand dollars. RI’s pet car law states that pets in vehicles have to be under the control (physically) of a person besides the driver, or be held back by crates, harnesses, seat belts. Violations of this law carry fines up to Two-hundred dollars.
Keeping Pets for Safe in Cars
There are a plethora of reasons pet owners don’t restrain their pets in the vehicle. Most often is that the pet is chill and can remain calm in the vehicle. So, there was no need for a restraint. Some pet owners want their dog to be able to stick their head out of the window.
In order to keep distraction low, restraining the pet in the back seat or in the rear area is a great idea. The restraint style and type will differ due to the size and age of the dog with the goal being a safe and secure way in which they will not distract the driver.
There are many types of restraint systems for dogs riding on the road in cars along with their owners. Some choices include:
- Pet Seat Belts;
- Pet Booster Seat;
If a driver was distracted by a dog in the car at the time of the collision, you could be owed money (perhaps more money than normal) for your injuries caused by the driver’s negligent actions. With a smart personal injury lawyer on your side, you could recover money for the following and more: lost wages, medical expenses, repair of vehicle/property, pain and suffering, and more.