Pets Pose Distraction Risk for North Carolina Motorists

It is not uncommon to see a dog perched in the passenger seat, sitting on the lap of a driver, or jumping around the back of an SUV. While pet owners may find it convenient or even fun to drive around with their animals, they may not realize the dangers posed by pet distractions. According to a new study, driving with pets is increasingly a cause of driver distraction and car accidents, especially among senior drivers.

Recent studies suggest that the crash rate for drivers over the age of 70 is higher for those who drive with their pets. The study was focused on evaluating the potential threat of driver distraction for elderly drivers with animals in the vehicle. Our Charlotte accident attorneys are committed to driver safety and are dedicated to helping the victims and families who have suffered because of driver distraction.

The risk of accident for drivers who always had their pets in the car doubles that of those who never had a pet in the vehicle. With evidence that distracted driving accounts for 10 percent of all U.S. highway fatalities, drivers and their loved ones should be aware of the risk before getting behind the wheel with an animal in the car.

A recent study found that elderly drivers are particularly vulnerable to the distraction of pets in a vehicle. They may not have adequate reaction time or suffer from other sensory deficiencies that can increase the likelihood of distraction and an accident.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released guidelines to minimize driver distraction, including avoiding the use of hand held devices and recommending that auto manufacturers avoid distracting dashboards. All of the guidelines focus on keeping driver attention on the road. As accident reconstructionists and experienced investigators know, even a few seconds of driver distraction can result in a deadly accident or catastrophic injury.

Pets pose dangers to drivers in a number of ways. They could demand too much attention, get in the way of the steering wheel, prevent changing gears or block a driver’s view. Distracted driving accident rates increase with dangerous driver habits, including using cell phones, adjusting the radio, or driving with pets. Pets may not necessarily interfere with driving, but they may be distracting to their loving owners.

Statistics indicate that more than half of pet owners take their dogs or cats with them on occasion. With the high rate of accidents among distracted and elderly drivers, pets can create additional risk and burden. If you or someone you love was injured or suffered because of distracted driving you may be entitled to compensation. Our attorneys will investigate your case and take every necessary step to protect your interests. We are experienced with cases involving distracted and negligent driving and will pursue every opportunity to protect your rights.

If you or someone you love routinely drives with an animal, consider the risk of distracted driving. Taking a pet to the mall or on daily errands may not be worth the risk to the driver, passenger and other motorists on the road.

If you or someone you love was injured in a distracted driving accident, contact the Charlotte injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.

Driving with pets increases crash rates, The Detroit Bureau, Michael Strong, May 2, 2013.

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