Doggie distractions behind the wheel

By Stephanie Byars - bio | email

CAPE GIARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Cell phones, loud music, screaming kids are all distractions behind the wheel.  However, a new study from AAA says there's something else that could be just as if not more dangerous.

The study says your best friend in the passenger's seat could be a danger to you, your pet, and others you may meet on the road!

The new AAA study says more than half of drivers admit to petting their dog while driving.  Twenty percent say they let their dogs sit on their laps.  Seven percent say they've even given their dog food or water while driving.

AAA officials say the danger is bigger than we may realize.

"Unrestricted dogs at 80 pounds in a 30 mile per hour crash, that dog creates 2400 pounds of pressure," said AAA spokesman Roy Hinz.

Dog advocate Melanie Coy of Cape Girardeau agreed.

"Not only is it a danger and distraction to other people on the road, it's also a danger to you inside the car," Coy said.

So what should you do?

"Probably the best and safest say to travel is to put them in a crate," said Coy.

She suggests looking for a crate that's airline approved. Safety restraints are another option.

"You can get harness and straps that will hook into seat belt systems and they will stay in the back seat," Coy said.

Cargo dividers can also help keep you and your four-legged friend out of harm's way. These are all items you can find at most pet stores.

These few simple steps can keep you and your best friend safe on the road.

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