Is your pet like a member of your family? I had a recent conversation with someone who has spent over $10,000 in vet bills on their dog. It amazes me that people who love their pets so much don’t protect them in the car. I don’t know anyone who would plop their baby down in the front seat of a car unrestrained and then drive away, even for a short distance. They know how dangerous it is. Yet rarely does anyone take the time to protect their pet in the same way.
Legislation was introduced in Oregon this year by Sen. Ginny Burdick that would have made it a $90 offense to drive with a pet on your lap. Hawaii is the only state that has such a law. I don’t think Hawaii is the only state that loves their animals. Oregon at least requires dogs to be restrained in the back of a pick-up. I would much rather see a grassroots movement to inform and inspire people to do the right thing.
Unrestrained pets cause 30,000 collisions a year. This is dangerous not only for pets, but the passengers as well. An unrestrained pet weighing 50 pounds in a 35 MPH crash torpedoes forward with 1,500 pounds of force. The cute dog with the ears folded back in the wind, and tongue hanging out won’t look the same after a crash.
Consider the distraction associated with common activities such as petting, trying to keep the dog from climbing from the backseat to the front seat, reaching into the backseat to interact with the dog, allowing the dog to sit on the driver’s lap.
Exploding airbags have the velocity and power to completely crush or even decapitate a dog. Restrain them in the back seat. Crates or "pet carriers" are especially good for small dogs and cats, but they come in larger sizes for larger animals. Just remember to secure the crate! In collision or when making unexpected quick turns and stops, it will prevent the cage the hurtling around in the car. Harnesses come in all sorts of styles and sizes, but essentially they're like seat belts. Typically, they wrap around the chest and shoulders and plug into a clip of the car's seat belt mechanism, or secure to a tie-down in the bed of a pickup truck Nets or gates may help prevent a pet from distracting or becoming a projectilelike threat. However, they don't do much to keep the pet safe in an emergency. The pet is still loose and may be thrown around and injured.
Finally, securing your dog will help ensure they do not run into traffic when you open the door.