Even though people often think of distracted driving activities as active tasks such as talking on the phone, texting, eating and personal grooming, the hazards are less finite. There are other passive distractions that can lead to a loss in focus on the road. Listening to loud music, for example, or having passengers in the vehicle can be distracting to drivers. When those passengers are small children or energetic pets, however, the distractions begin to multiply.
Many people walk or jog with their pets and it is not uncommon for individuals to take pets on errands, drive them to the dog park or shuttle them to training classes. Even though these actions are often necessary, pets can be a serious distraction for numerous reasons:
- The pet is nervous, and the driver tries to soothe it by talking or petting.
- The pet is energetic and bounds from seat to seat, often crossing the driver’s field of vision.
- The driver feeds the pet a treat.
- The pet rests across the driver’s lap leading to a vision challenge as well as inhibited movement.
A survey conducted by Kurgo and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety highlighted numerous enlightening statistics, including:
- 29% of drivers admitted to being actively distracted by their pets
- 64% of drivers admitted to participating in potentially distracting activities
- 84% of drivers admitted to allowing their pets to ride unrestrained
To combat distracted driving, both Kurgo and AAA encourage drivers to restrain their pets in the vehicle. If not only to reduce distractions, but to keep pets safe should a collision occur. Distracted driving crashes can result in devastating property damage and catastrophic injuries. Depending on the size and speed of the vehicles in the wreck, consequences can range from injuries to fatalities.