Having Dogs In The Car May Be Unsafe

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — More and more dogs are hitting the road with their owners—but could they be causing crashes? 

Monique Griego has more on some alarming new statistics.

While plenty of people pound the pavement with their pooches, it’s now common for Fido to jump in the car and go for a cruise.

“Maybe a few times a month,” said Alyssa Dennis.

Dennis isn’t alone.  More owners are bringing their dogs along for the ride and AAA says that’s leading to dangerous driving conditions which can cause crashes.

“They don’t realize the potential distractions that dogs can cause,” said Christine Delise, AAA.

According to AAA’s study, 56 percent of dog owners drive with their pets, but only 16 percent restrain them.  Out of those who said they take their dogs in the car and out on the road, 65 percent admitted to being distracted.

“I do occasionally pet the dog if it seems he’s getting nervous or uncomfortable,” Dennis said.

Petting their pooch was the most common distraction at 56 percent, followed by 23 percent who restrained the dog when they braked and 19 percent who had to stop the dog from jumping into the front seat.  All these risky behaviors can result or have potential for a crash.  So if you’re going to hit the road, AAA recommends you buy a harness or a car seat for your pet. 

Dennis invested in a harness for her dog, Lucky.  She hopes other owners realize the risk.

“Either the dog could get really hurt or cause you or someone else to get really hurt,” she said.

WJZ looked up a few prices for dog restraints and car seats and found some for as cheap as $20.

In 2008, there were more than 23,000 crashes caused by distracted drivers.  However, they don’t have exact numbers for how many were caused because of pets.

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