Caution: Dogs behind wheel

dog_in_car.gi.top.jpgWhen riding in a car, dogs should be in the backseat and properly restrained, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. by Peter Valdes-Dapena, senior writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- That darling little pooch riding with you to the grocery store may be cute, but it could actually be a killer.

Dogs in the car can be a hazard to drivers, others on the road and even to the dogs themselves.

One third of dog owners admit that their pets sometimes distract them while they're driving, according to a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey of people who say they have driven with their dog in their car within the past year.

More than half admit to petting the dog while driving. And 21% say they allowed their dog to ride in their lap. A few said they've done things like playing with their dogs or giving their their dogs water, all while driving.

At the same time, fewer than one in five people who have driven with a dog say they use any kind pet restraint.

That can be dangerous for the dog, but also for vehicle occupants and others.

"An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at 50 mph will exert roughly 500 pounds of pressure, while an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert 2,400 pounds of pressure," Jennifer Huebner, AAA National, Traffic Safety Programs manager said in an announcement. "Imagine the devastation that can cause to your pet and anyone in the vehicle."

Front seats are particularly deadly for dogs, restrained or not, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety said. Airbags, which inflate explosively during a crash, can be even more dangerous to a dog than the actual impact itself.

Most dog owners said their pets ride in the back which, according to AAA, is where they should ride. Only 26% say they allow their dog to ride in a front seat. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Find Your Next Car
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,285.74 0.34 0.00%
Nasdaq 5,090.79 19.05 0.38%
S&P 500 2,130.82 4.97 0.23%
Treasuries 2.21 0.02 1.01%
Data as of 9:25am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Qualcomm Inc 70.09 0.81 1.17%
Comcast Corp 57.54 -0.03 -0.05%
EMC Corp 26.79 0.16 0.60%
Regions Financial Co... 10.24 -0.02 -0.19%
Applied Materials In... 20.15 0.24 1.21%
Data as of May 21
Sponsors

Sections

Building the replacements for tens of millions defective airbags and finding owners of the recalled cars will be a difficult and time-consuming process. More

Chelsea Clinton took the stage during Internet Week New York to discuss a new report that looks at the state of women around the world. More

More than 3.5 million people's sexual preferences, fetishes and secrets have been exposed after dating site Adult FriendFinder was hacked. More

For $2,000 a month, Beacon will offer unlimited flights between New York and Boston -- and plans to add more cities soon. More

Rents increased 4% in April from last year while home values only rose 3% during the same time period. More