Car Safety: Our Furry Friends Need Protection Too
Tue, April 20, 2021

Car Safety: Our Furry Friends Need Protection Too

Despite the growing number of pet owners, and even more of those who treat their pets with extra special care, only 5% of these pet owners employ a built-in vehicle safety solution for their pet / Photo by: Andrey_Popov via Shutterstock

 

Pets are much like family members. We grow up with them in the same way that a child grows into adulthood. We treat them well and spend on them like any loved one. Aside from wanting to give them food, water, shelter, and love, we want to keep them safe. More specifically, when we go on road trips, it’s important to keep pets in our cars safe, too. 

According to Forbes, an American business magazine, 69% or majority of Americans see their pets as part of the “family”, with 23% holding pets to a level equal to their own children. Among millennials, pets are regarded as “starter children”, those they would treat like a child before having ‘actual children’ of their own.

Despite the growing number of pet owners, and even more of those who treat their pets with extra special care, only 5% of these pet owners employ a built-in vehicle safety solution for their pet. This poses certain risks not only for our pets who are in the vehicle with us, but also for the rest of the human passengers. During a crash, and the aftermath, roaming pets may injure or collide with people within the vehicle, in addition to the pet possibly getting hurt. It’s important to take extra precautions when bringing a pet along for a ride in your car, whether it be a short trip or a long journey.

Crash and Pet Statistics

According to a survey by the American Automobile Association, over 80% of dog owners drive with pets in their car. Moreover, there are 43.3 million households with pets, and only a small percentage of those who transport pets have proper safety equipment, take safety precautions, or are able to handle accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) explained that there were 5,687,000 crashes in 2013, with 1,591,000 injured and 32,719 deaths. According to Pet Pro Supply Co., a distributor of premium pet products based in the USA, from these accidents, a good number may have included pets since it was found that 34.4 million pet owners drive with their pets. 51% of travelers with pets shared that they would bring their pets to every single vacation.

It has also been found that if a car crashes at a speed of 25 miles per hour, an unrestrained dog may be projected with an impact more than 40 times its actual weight. With the average weight of a large to medium dog being 75 pounds, the dog's impact force would total around 3,000 pounds. This could heavily or fatally injure both the passenger and the pet.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) explained that there were 5,687,000 crashes in 2013, with 1,591,000 injured and 32,719 deaths / Photo by: Photo Spirit via Shutterstock

 

Safety Features

Not many cars available today are as pet-friendly as they could be. But some cars, according to Forbes, have integrated products just for pets. Cars that are made by automobile companies such as Volvo have built-in features specific to holding canines or felines. 

The dog harness, for instance, is a solution for pet safety in specific cars. It is flexible but, at the same time, keeps the dog in the rear seat as it works as an in-car leash. It could also be used for walking the dog when they aren't in the car. A dog gate, put at the back of the car, also acts as a compartment divider to separate loads or two different dogs via a protective grill. More than this, there are also other third party pet safety instruments offered to function in the same way, compatible with almost all interiors of most SUVs and Crossovers using pet harnesses and steel grills. 

Car safety experts work to manage the deceleration rate of the animal or human and decrease the force that the heart, spleen, and brain experience upon hitting a hard object. This is what seatbelts and airbags provide for humans, but not exactly for pets.

In 2011, New Jersey made it a violation of animal cruelty laws to carry a dog unrestrained in a car. What these safety measures do is to remove the obstacle of having a flying pet during a crash, oftentimes in a manner that is more protective of pet owners than the pets themselves. According to numerous individuals who have experienced it, there exist many ineffective car restraints for pets, because they leave dogs hogtied after a crash. Because of issues like this, the Center for Pet Safety adopted Federal Motor Vehicle Standard 213 (FMVS 213), which regulates child restraint systems as its guide in creating a safe and similar one for dogs and pets. But, whether or not these safety features are comfortable for the pets using them, these safety features make all the difference when enjoying a trip out of town, in the car, with your pet. They could very well spell the difference between life or death.

Not many cars available today are as pet-friendly as they could be. But some cars, according to Forbes, have integrated products just for pets / Photo by: Africa Studio via Shutterstock