As an experienced Philadelphia car accident attorney since 1979, there is one thing that I am certain of: any distraction or impairment of your faculties while driving can lead to catastrophic consequences. The majority of car accidents are caused by distracted drivers such as those who talk on cell phones. As an animal lover who owns a dog and a few cats, I too must confess that I am guilty of this offense.
We recently investigated a claim where a young boy was struck and catastrophically injured by a car being operated with an over-aggressive and anxious pet dog in the front seat that kept interfering with the driver’s functioning and abilities. The driver of the stricken vehicle claimed that her dog jumped onto her and then to the floor interfering with her ability to properly see and operate the controls. Many readers are aware that pets in cars have a tendency to wander around and sometimes can even go to the floor level where the brakes and accelerator pedals are positioned. If you have a pet wandering around your car when you are driving, there is an excellent chance that you will be distracted.
Recently when driving, my dog attempted to jump from the back seat to the front seat, scratching the leather console, and I must guiltily confess that my attention was drawn away from the road, but thankfully I did not have an accident. Additionally, if one has to take an accident avoidance maneuver or apply the brakes in a sudden fashion, a pet is another loose object that can be thrown about the vehicle impairing driving ability. A recent survey by AAA Foundation for Traffic and Safety revealed that an overwhelming 80% of respondents state that they have driven with their pets in a variety of car trips and only 17% claim that they use any form of pet restraint system. A few safety tips to be offered:
1. Use safety barriers throughout your car to prevent your pet from being projected in case of a short stop or accident avoidance maneuver.
2. Purchase a dog or cat restraint system to insure that the animal behaves properly while riding and that the restraint prevents it from hitting the hard interior of the vehicle in a sudden stop.
3. Place your dog or cat in an animal carrier and secure it properly. When using a pet carrier, it is important that it be secured properly so that it doesn’t fly around during a collision.
The Pennsylvania car accident law firm of Reiff & Bily is committed to motorist safety and offers a free no obligation consultation to those who are injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident. For more information, contact us at 1-800-421-9595 or online at www.reiffandbily.com.