Recently, Baltimore County Police reported an accident that led to serious injuries for three people, and resulted in the death of a dog that had been riding in one of the vehicles.
Unsurprisingly, when we discuss a traffic accident, we’ll almost always focus on the severe impact it can have on people, including death, permanent injury, and temporary but still costly injuries. Human safety, after all, is paramount.
But it’s important to also take some time to consider the specific issue of pets that accompany people on the road. Two main concerns arise:
• They may die or be severely injured, which is a serious loss for their owners.
• They may actually distract drivers and cause an accident.
Reducing the risk of pets causing an accident
According to the road safety movement, Be Smart Ride Safe, approximately 80% of pet owners in the US travel with their pets; unfortunately, many people don’t properly restrain their pets while transporting them in a vehicle. What kinds of dangerous might this pose?
• Pets, especially if they aren’t well-trained or if they become agitated by something, could pose a serious distraction for a driver. For instance, they may climb onto the driver’s lap, obstruct the view, or make a lot of noise. They might also jump out of open windows and into traffic.
• During an accident, an unrestrained pet is more likely to get killed or injured. Furthermore, the accident can turn them into projectiles that slam into the driver and other passengers.
• In the aftermath of an accident, a pet that isn’t restrained may flee the vehicle and cause an additional collision by running out onto the road. Unrestrained pets may also impede first responders.
Improving pet safety on the road
The primary precaution to take when driving with pets – for their own safety and yours – is to make sure that they’re properly restrained. Even people who take care to use seat belts themselves might be careless about letting their dog or cat roam around the interior of the vehicle. Be sure to look into the kinds of restraints that are appropriate for your pet.
Also, keep in mind that your pets could sustain serious injuries, or possibly die, during an accident. Auto insurance policies vary when it comes to what kinds of pet injuries they cover, and under what circumstances; especially if you drive regularly with your pets, be sure to check if they’re covered by an insurance policy.
If you’re experiencing difficulties with your insurance company after an accident, or you believe the accident was a result of another person’s negligence, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney who concentrates his practice on vehicular accidents. In general, you shouldn’t have to give up on traveling with your pet on the road. You just have to be mindful about the potential safety risks and take the appropriate precautions.
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