You buckle up the kids, hop in the driver’s seat, and buckle up yourself. As you’re backing out of the driveway, you glance over to the passenger side, and there sits Rover, riding shotgun, head already hanging out of the window.
But, Rover’s not buckled up, so before you get to the end of the block, he’s happily bounding between his seat and your lap. He makes a quick trip to the backseat to make sure the kids are OK, then heads back to his seat to continue his neighborhood surveillance, all the while merrily wagging his tail in your face.
Rover loves car rides!
But, Rover’s antics can be a huge distraction to you while you’re driving. All passengers—Rover included—should be buckled up. Attention to the need for restraining pets in vehicles as a way to cut down on distractions is gaining ground, with a few states now requiring pets to be buckled up or crated while riding in a vehicle.1
Why do it?
Some people may think it odd to buckle up a pet, but that could be because they’ve never considered the following:
Safety for the humans. Distractions aside, consider what happens during a panic stop or accident. Even if your pet is well behaved and always sits quietly while riding in a vehicle, a 60-pound dog turns into a 2,700 pound projectile at 35 mph.2
Safety for the pet. If you stopped suddenly or were in a crash, your pet could be severely hurt or killed from being tossed around inside or thrown from the vehicle.
Safety for others. An unrestrained pet can interfere with—and maybe even bite—rescue personnel after an accident. Additionally, if the pet escapes from the vehicle, it could also be the cause of another accident.
The next time you hit the road, make sure the four-legged family members are buckled up too—for your and their safety!
1 USA Today; “States unleash laws on restraining pets while driving”; by Jim Walsh, Phil Dunn, and Alesha Williams Boyd; June 4, 2012; accessed 10/2012 http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-06-04/vehicle-pet-restraint-laws/55384736/1;
2 Bark Buckle UP; http://www.barkbuckleup.com/WhyBuckleUp.asp, accessed 10/2012