Alabama study reveals pets may be a driving distraction

Many Alabama drivers cannot resist bringing their furry friends along for the ride. However, a study from the University of Alabama found that pets in the car are actually a potential hazard that could likely result in car accidents, particularly for older drivers. According to the study, individuals who are older than 70 years of age and drive with their pets are more likely to have accidents than those that do not drive with pets in the vehicle.

The report offered a number of tips that can help keep drivers safe while traveling with their pets. For example, pets should never be allowed in the front seats. Not only can they be distracting as they are in the driver's line of view, but they are also more easily injured if the driver must swerve or stop suddenly. Pets should also be restrained. This can be done with either a crate or a seatbelt that is made specifically for dogs.

Finally, the report also suggests that drivers, especially older drivers, take a refresher course. Not only can drivers brush up on their defensive driving skills, but they can also learn any updated road rules. In addition, drivers may even be entitled to an auto insurance discount.

Drivers who are distracted can cause car accidents that result in serious injuries, including back and neck pain, brain trauma and broken bones. Accidents can cause medical, economic and emotional strain on all involved. An experienced Alabama attorney may be able to help by working with the accused driver's insurance company to prove liability and to negotiate an appropriate compensation for any injuries and damages that were sustained by their client. The attorney may also use accident reconstructionists and expert witnesses to help prove the extent of the injury.

Source: El Dorado Springs Sun, "Driving with dogs: Tips to keep everyone in the car safe", July 25, 2013

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