Just about everyone has seen one, a driver with a dog in his or her lap or sitting in the front passenger seat. New Yorkers love their pets, but for their safety and the safety of everyone else on the road there is a certain place pets should be kept when they are traveling in a car. According to a recent survey, few pet owners who allow their pets to accompany them in their vehicles actually restrain their animals properly and some even admit that they are distracted by their pets. A driver paying attention to his or her pet rather than the road is, quite simply, a negligent driver.
The American Automobile Association recently conducted a survey on this particular topic. They asked dog owners about their driving habits when their pets accompany them in their vehicles. According to the survey:
- 52 percent of participants admitted to petting their dogs while driving
- 13 percent admitted to feeding their dogs while driving
- 17 percent of participants admitted to allowing their dogs to sit in their laps while operating their vehicles
- 4 percent admitted to playing with their pets rather than focusing on the road
- 29 percent admitted that they were knowingly distracted by their pets
The number of participants in the study was not listed, but these numbers speak for themselves. Drivers are easily distracted when they have their animals with them and those animals are not properly restrained. There are pet restraint systems available, yet only 16 percent of study participants claim to use them.
No one wants to think that they will be the one to cause a distracted driving-related accident, but when someone willing puts their pet in their lap or in the front passenger seat and then pays attention to the animal rather than the road, the risk of causing such an accident increases severely. New York residents or visitors to the state who have been injured or lost loved ones in collisions with drivers who were distracted by their pets may seek relief for their losses. The appropriate legal claims may be filed against the negligent driver in civil court. Through negotiation or litigation, fair and full compensation may be achieved.