In some states, including Hawaii and New Jersey, laws prohibit people from letting their dogs ride in cars unrestrained. It may sound silly to have seatbelts for dogs, but driving with pets loose in the car is a dangerous thing to do – for humans and their pets.
Dogs that are not restrained in a vehicle pose numerous dangers, including:
- They can distract the driver, which can result in an accident.
- They can physically interfere with driving by touching the steering wheel or other controls.
- If they are large enough, dogs can obstruct the driver’s view by standing in their lap.
- If the driver makes a sudden stop or is in an accident, the dog can act as a projectile, injuring itself and passengers.
- In an accident, dogs that are loose in the vehicle may be in danger from EMTs or police if they perceive the animal as a potential threat while trying to help injured passengers.
If you care about the safety of yourself and your pet, restraining it in the car is critical. You can use a kennel, a gate that keeps the dog in the back section of the vehicle or a restraint that hooks to the seatbelt. These are easy, inexpensive ways to keep your dog safe and help prevent car accidents.
What if I’m injured by a driver who’s distracted by a pet?
If you are in an accident caused by a driver with an unrestrained pet, you can seek damages for your losses, including lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. When a driver’s negligence causes an accident, they can be held accountable for injuries.
In most cases, working with an experienced personal injury lawyer after a car accident yields better results. When accident victims try to fight the negligent driver’s insurance company by themselves, they typically do not have the knowledge and resources to make it a fair fight. The insurance company will have attorneys representing their interests. You need one, too.