Much attention is devoted to stopping distracted driving. Particularly the use of cell phones and texting while driving. As many as 42 states have developed laws and campaigns against texting and driving.
Distracted driving is a general term that encompasses many driving behaviors. State statutes typically define distracted driving as doing something while operating a motor vehicle which:
- Is not necessary to operate the vehicle; and
- Impairs (or would reasonably be expected to impair) the driver’s ability to drive safely.
State statutes might also forbid specific activities while driving such as personal grooming, reading, writing, and other common in-vehicle distractions.
Many states are now focusing their attention on another type of distracted driving, driving with an unrestrained pet in the car. Although there are no statistics regarding how many accidents are caused by unrestrained pets, there is clear potential for danger.
Dangers of Unrestrained Pets
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety notes that removing your eyes from the road for two seconds doubles your chance of a crash. A surprised pet could cause a two-second response from a driver and lead to an accident. Added to this is the fact that in a collision at 50 mph, an unrestrained 10-pound dog creates an impact with about 500 pounds of force. This is a deadly mix.
In addition to possible injuries and fines, there are consequences to consider when traveling with an unrestrained pet. If there is an accident, and the driver with the unrestrained pet is at fault, their insurance company might deny their claim. This could be financially overwhelming.
Unrestrained Pets and State Laws
In New Jersey, pets in moving vehicles must be secured in a carrier or wear a seat belt. Failure to comply can result in a fine of $250 to $1000. Rhode Island’s pet car restraint law states that pets in vehicles must be under the physical control of a person other than the driver, or be restrained by crates, harnesses, seat belts. Violations of this law carry fines up to $200.
Although the following states require pets to be restrained, they have enacted laws that could provide consequences for transporting unrestrained pets.
- South Carolina
- Washington D.C.
Securing Pets for Safety
There are many reasons pet owners do not restrain their pets in the car. Most often is that the pet is well-tempered and calm. Therefore, there was no need for restraints. Other pet owners want their pet able to put their head out of the window.
In order to effectively limit the potential distraction of a pet in the car is to restrain the pet in the back seat or in the rear cargo area. The restraint type and style will vary according to the size and age of the pet with the goal being to safely secure them in a manner in which they will not cause a distraction for the driver.
There are several types of restraint systems for pets traveling in cars with their owners. Popular choices include:
- Pet Seat Belt;
- Pet Booster Seat;
You can find crash safety rating information for various pet products at the website for the Center for Pet Safety
An Arkansas Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
We all want to keep ourselves and our pets safe while traveling. However, the unexpected can sometimes happen. If you or a loved one are injured by a distracted driver in Arkansas, call the professionals at the Law Offices of Alan LeVar. There is a time limit in which personal injury cases must be filed. With offices in Little Rock, Bentonville, Conway, and Arkadelphia, the Law Offices of Alan LeVar are here for you and ready to help.
If a driver was distracted by a pet in the vehicle at the time of the crash, you could be owed compensation for your injuries caused by the driver’s negligent actions. With a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer on your side, you could recover damages including: medical expenses, lost wages from time missed at work, repair or replacement of damaged property, pain and suffering, and more.
The Law Offices of Alan LeVar represents people who have been hurt in distracted driving accidents throughout the greater Arkansas area. Call us or contact us online to have our attorneys review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free consultation.