Taking Your Dog For A Ride Is Just Another Distraction

August 28, 2019

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A new study conducted by Volvo found that having your dog in the car, and not restrained, is yet another cause for concern when it comes to distracted driving. Allowing pets to roam unrestrained while driving led to significantly more unsafe driving behaviors, more time distracted and increased stress on both drivers and their four-legged friends. For example:

  • Unsafe driving behaviors more than doubled: 649 instances while unrestrained vs. 274 while restrained - (This includes climbing on a driver’s lap or hanging their head out the window.)
  • Time drivers were distracted more than doubled: 3 hr. 39 min. unrestrained vs. 1 hr. 39 min. restrained - (Includes dogs jumping from seat to seat or taking drivers’ eyes off the road.)
  • Stress on both drivers and pups increased: Heart rates were likely to increase for people and pets. - (Unrestrained dogs measured a heart rate 7 beats per minute faster. Drivers felt calmer when dogs were buckled in, with heart rates dropping as much as 28 and 34 beats per minute.)

Internationally renowned veterinarian Dr. Elisa Mazzaferro, Staff Criticalist, Cornell University Veterinary Specialists is an expert in emergency and critical care of animals. She says, “While pets roaming around the car can be cute and convenient, it poses serious risk for both drivers and their pets, both in terms of causing distractions and increasing the chances of serious injury in the event of an accident.” Dr. Mazzaferro added that many devastating consequences can be "avoided by simply ensuring our animals are safely secured.”