Understanding Car Safety & Pets in America to Understand a Growing Trend coming to the UK
This article is a part of a more extensive set of blog articles about pet safety in vehicles. See other relevant articles below:
STATISTICS OF CAR SAFETY AND PETS IN AMERICA
No matter how long or short your journey is, it is essential to keep safety in mind for you and all members of your family including pets.
Here are some facts from 2013– Keep in mind we are now surpassing 2021/22
Households with 1 or More Pets
Dog Owners with unrestrained Pets
Owners who use Pet Safety Restraints
Owners Admitting to Pet Distractions
Owners Petting Their Dog When Driving
Owners Driving with Dogs in the Lap
Owners Feeding Dogs when Driving
Owners Playing with Dogs when Driving
- The number of pets in America is on the rise, with 43.3 million households owning at least one pet.
- Most dog owners travelling with their pets are not restraining them - That is 84% of dog owners who go travelling!
- So, few people are aware of the danger’s dogs face when they're in cars. Only 16% of drivers who transport their pets use safety restraints, and these accidents can have deadly consequences!
- It turns out that 60% of dog owners have driven while distracted by their pets as passengers. This has implications on road safety and can lead to severe accidents with others involved.
- A staggering 52% of dog owners have petted their dogs whilst driving.
- An ever-increasing 17% of US drivers allowed their dogs to sit in their lap while driving.
- 13% of drivers admitted giving food or treats to their dogs while driving.
- 4% of drivers stated they do play with their dogs during their drive.
It is important to travel safely with your pet because it reduces risks for both you, them and other passengers. You should never put yourself in danger, or risk hurting someone else who may be riding along on the car seat next time around. You should also always consider other road users.
CAR CRASH AND PET STATISTICS
Dog owners are a loyal and dedicated bunch. A recent survey by the American Automobile Association shows that 80% of people drive with their dogs in cars, which accounts for 43 million households worldwide! But, unfortunately, only 16 percent of these drivers use proper safety restraints when they travel.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were a tremendous 5,687,000 crashes in 2013, with 1,591,000 injuries and 32,719 fatalities. Let that sink in, that was back in 2013, and we are now in 2022. Imagine how many more cars and pets are out on the road. It is estimated that 170,000 children were hurt in these crashes.
Pets were likely in these vehicles when you consider that 34.4 million Americans drive with their pets. Furthermore, over 80% of them were more than likely unrestrained, which means they were potentially injured or at the very least left in shock.
According to a Best Western survey, 51% of travellers with pets say they would always take their pets with them if they could. This same trend is occurring here in the UK.
National Safety Council
The National Safety Council reported a staggering 2.5 million rear-end collisions occur every year. This report makes them the most common type of car accident— and these accidents can cause significant injuries or even death for your pets as they are typically located in the rear of the car. This statistic is just one reason to have crash-tested safety products in place.
If a car crashes at just 25mph, which very few of us go so slow, an unrestrained dog can be projected forward at a force 40x greater than its weight. If you have a dog at 13kg, this is bad enough, but if you have one at 40kg, it can sadly be life changing. Having 3,000 lbs or more hitting you at speed will cause death.
According to Jennifer Huebner-Davidson of AAA, even for smaller pets travelling at just 30 miles per hour, an unrestrained 10 lbs dog will exert 300 pounds of pressure in a crash. Without safety restraints like pet-friendly seat belts or dog restraints that can protect you from injury during accidents, this pint-sized pup could become severely injured on impact, and passengers are also at risk.
Make Car Travel Comfortable and Safe for Pets
We have come to learn over time that travelling in the car with pets will throw up lots of different reactions and scenarios. Some will have no problem travelling, but others will despise it! Here are our tips to try and ensure things go a bit smoother:
- Start young: If you want your pet to enjoy car travel, start them young. Introduce the vehicle as soon as possible and make short trips while ensuring their experiences are positive by ending each journey with something fun like treats or an exciting day out!
- Give them time to digest: To help your pet avoid getting car sick, feed them before a ride or leave it until afterwards. If they do get nauseous even on an empty stomach you should talk to the vet about medications that can settle their tummy while also ensuring they have enough time for digestion to not cause any discomfort during travel if possible!
- Take a break: It might seem like the trip is long, but you'll have plenty of time to stretch your pet's legs and drink a little something. Break up the journey by stopping at an outdoor park or places that welcome dogs. Both you and your dog need a break, and this will help ensure a safer and smoother drive as the more tired you get and the more of a distraction your dog becomes then the higher the risk of an accident.
- Keep them cool: Cars can warm up quickly, so it’s essential to be aware of your pet’s temperature when you’re on the go and remember to pop the air conditioning on or open a window to keep them cool.
- Don’t let dogs stick their head out the window: Letting your dog stick their head out of the window can be dangerous – they could knock their head on something, fall out of the window, be injured by stones kicked up by the tyres, or distract other drivers.
- Safety is Paramount - A harness or seat belt should be used from a young age. This helps you stay within the highway code and helps them adapt from a young age.
When you consider these statistics are from back in 2013 in the USA and we know that the UK is sharply following many of the US pet trends it shows we need to be prepared for more pets and cars on the road. The only good news is that with more AI and electric technology in the cars and more sophisticated pet travel accessories starting to appear, we might have a shot at keeping or bringing the statistics back down.
The statistics and data were taken from the following sources.
American Automobile Association
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
National Safety Council