06 Apr Dogs Can Be a Distraction While Driving

As much as you love your dog, taking it for a ride in the car with you can be distracting.  And distraction is one of the leading contributing factors in motor vehicle deaths on B.C. roads.  According to police data, between 2010 -2014 there were 404 fatalities in British Columbia due to distracted driving.

While it’s not illegal to have an unrestrained pet in your car, provided that it doesn’t prevent safe driving, allowing your dog to roam free in the vehicle or sit on your lap can be dangerous. Driving with an unrestrained pet can put you and your passengers at risk for collision. When left unleashed in the front seat of the car, a pet can interfere with your ability to steer, climb onto the driver’s lap and crawl on the foot pedals.

Drivers caught violating road rules, like swerving, speeding or changing lanes unsafely, while carrying a dog in their lap can be fined $368 for driving without due care and attention.  The offense also carries six ICBC penalty points.

In the event of a collision, unrestrained pets can become dangerous projectiles, potentially causing serious injury to themselves and others. A dog flying from the back seat into the back of the driver’s head can cause serious injury.  It is estimated that a 50-pound pet, when traveling in a vehicle at 50 km/h, has the weight of approximately one ton if a crash occurs.  Imagine that hitting you in the back of the head!

Many of us treat our dogs like family members and we want to keep them safe.  But dogs are not safe in the front seat of a vehicle.  An airbag deploying can cause serious injury or death to your pet.  If unrestrained, your pet could be thrown against the inside of the vehicle or windshield. In order to keep your pet and yourself safe, buckle them up in the backseat or secure them in a crate.

At Acheson Sweeney Foley Sahota, we have experience representing clients injured by drivers distracted by their dogs.  Call us for a free consultation.