Driving Safely with Pets

There is no valid excuse for not safely securing a dog in a travel dog crate. Most folks are oblivious that the majority of states have laws governing pets riding in vehicles. New Jersey, for example, has fines ranging from $250 up to $1,000, for unrestrained pets. Traveling in Hawaii with a dog on your lap is illegal and North Carolina is considering making this a law as well. Furthermore, in nearly all states, an accident resulting from a pet in the vehicle is a violation per distracted driving laws.

The following illustrate the common reasons dog owners state for not securing their pet while riding in the car:

  • It’s a Short Trip – A short trip does not diminish the risk of an accident. To the contrary, insurance companies report that more than 50 percent of vehicular accidents occur within five miles of one’s home.
  • My Dog Likes the View – Dogs are kind of like human children in that they too might enjoy sticking their heads out the window or bouncing around on the backseat, but this is terribly distracting for the driver. Also, sticking their heads out of the car window increases the risk of eye injury due to flying debris or objects.
  • Crates Cost Too Much – The ultimate cost of a quality pet crate is nothing compared to that of an accident or veterinary bills for an injured pet. The pet industry is a multi-billion dollar one where pet owners spend the bulk of their money on food, toys, and health care, but many balk at spending on accessories to protect their pets. Many crates available on the market have been tested by the Center for Pet Safety and measure up to their standards. A few of these crates are so well-built that they will last decades, never having to be replaced.

The distressing news is that countless dogs die annually in vehicle accidents and many that do not, escape from the wreckage panicked and afraid, ending up lost or causing further accidents as motorists try to avoid hitting them. A dog riding loose in a vehicle quickly becomes a projectile in an accident. Consider this – a 5 pound Yorkie traveling 30 mph through the air that hits an occupant in the head, is going to hurt both parties. It simply isn’t worth the risk.