Pet owners often do not want to leave their pets at home when they travel. In Chicago, some dog owners choose to drive with their dog in the passenger’s seat.
Unfortunately, driving with a pet is not without risks. A 2011 survey conducted by the American Automobile Association among 1,000 dog owners reveals the kinds of driver distractions caused by pets. When someone drives with a pet, he or she may need to respond to the pet’s needs. Driving with a pet exposes one to an increased risk of getting involved in a car accident.
The Risk of Driving with a Pet
According to the survey, around 60 percent of the dog owners take their pet for a ride at least once every month. Most of these drivers interact with their pet while driving. Many of the drivers keep their dog in the front seat or even on their laps while driving. Those who keep their dogs in the back seat often turn around and try to reach their pets in the back seat, while others may bend over and try to touch their pet with a hand or arm in an attempt to keep the dog from coming to the front seat.
Driving with an Unrestrained Pet
More than 80 percent of the drivers know that it is safe to use seat belts or pet restraints while driving with a pet, yet only 16 percent of the pet owners who bring their pets in the car said that they use these safety features while driving.When a driver chooses not to use pet restraints, he or she is more likely to be involved in an accident. Furthermore, if an accident occurs while driving with a pet unrestrained in the vehicle, the driver and other occupants are likely to suffer severe injuries. Driving with a dog is not illegal, but drivers do need to understand that it is their responsibility to take all possible precautions to avoid or at least reduce any risk of accidents.
Chicago Car Accident Attorney
An unrestrained pet faces no less risk than an unrestrained passenger in the event of an accident. Moreover, an unrestrained dog may create additional hazards for other occupants in the car. If you suffer an injury from a car accident caused by pet distraction, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Consult an experienced Chicago car accident attorney from Willens Law Offices to know what you are entitled to. Call us at (312) 957-4166 and we will help you understand your legal rights.
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