A driver who seemed to have been distracted by her pet Yorkie jumping inside her car crashed into the patio of a home in Orange the night of May 1. According to a news report in the Orange County Register, no one was injured in the crash at a townhome complex at 5825 Creekside Avenue. There was minor damage to the fencing closing off the home’s patio and to the car’s front end. Police said the small dog jumped down from her lap to her feet and kept her from being able to apply the brakes. The black Mercedes drove into a carport and onto a hedge before it hit the fence. The woman was not cited at the time for distracted driving, but police officials are not ruling out the possibility.
It is indeed a relief to note that no one in the home or the vehicle was injured in this car accident. This could have been a lot worse.
Traveling with Pets and Crashes
According to an AAA survey, more than 80 percent of dog owners drive with their pets in the car. There are 43.3 million households with pets. That shows there are millions of people on our roadways with dogs in their cars. Only 16 percent of people who transport their dogs use proper safety restraints, the survey states.
More than half (51 percent) of drivers say they would bring their pets along on every vacation if they could. Studies also state that if a car crashes at a speed of 25 mph, an unrestrained dog could be projected forward at a force equal to 40 times its weight. A large-size dog weighing 75 pounds, for example, can achieve an impact force of 3,000 pounds in a car crash, which could be a lethal blow for both the passenger and the pet.
The Safe Way to Travel
There are several safety measures drivers would be well advised to take if traveling with their pets. Don’t let your pets roam freely in the vehicle. Never let your dog sit in the front seat. Never let your pet sit in your lap. Don’t let your dog ride with its head out the window. In addition to these steps, it is crucial that you secure your pet with a quality restraint system. This will not only keep your pet from distracting you, but also protects your pet from getting thrown around the vehicle in the event of an accident.
Our Orange County car accident lawyers strongly recommend against driving you’re your pet without using proper pet restraints. Getting distracted by a pet will be viewed as distracted driving. So, if your lapse in attention because of your pet causes a car accident, you could be held liable for the injuries, damages and losses caused.