Many countries now have laws about travelling with your dog in a car. However, many people, from those with their first puppy to those who have had dogs for years, aren’t aware of these laws.
Making sure your dog is secured in your car is important, not just for their safety, but for your safety (and that of your passengers, too).
Danger Factor: Dog Weight at Speed
According to a report by the American Automobile Association (AAA), an unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph exerts around 300 pounds of pressure. But an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a 30-mph crash will exert approximately 2,400 pounds of pressure. That’s not just incredibly dangerous for your dog, but for you too; any unrestrained weight can become a projectile weapon when your car brakes quickly or suffers an impact.
An unrestrained dog may also leap out of an open window or into your lap, if scared or excited—and they could suffer an injury if your car has airbags. Using a dog car crate can prevent this.
Danger Factor: Distraction While Driving
Unrestrained pets are a serious cause of driver distraction. Turning to look at them, having them sitting next to you, trying to stop them leaping about, seeing them jump up in your mirror: they can all divert your attention from the road.
A 2019 study by Volvo Car USA and The Harris Poll revealed that unrestrained pets more than double the incidences of unsafe driving behaviours and distracted periods, and increase stress in both drivers and their dogs. And the AAA & Kurgo Pet Passenger Survey revealed even more distracting interactions, including giving treats to dogs and taking their photo! Yet according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, looking away from the road for just two seconds doubles your risk of a crash.
What’s the Pet Restraint Law in Your Country?
UK: Contrary to popular belief, unrestrained pets aren’t against the law per se. However, Highway Code Rule 57 says animals should be “suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly.” Breaking the Highway Code isn’t an offence but may be used to prove your liability for an accident or contribute to an offence such as ‘careless and inconsiderate driving’. An on-the-spot fixed penalty notice gives you a £100 fine and three points on your licence in ‘low harm’ cases, but more serious incidents can lead to court appearances, an unlimited fine, up to 9 points on your licence and even disqualification from driving. And If a road traffic accident is caused by an unrestrained dog, your driver’s insurance may be invalidated.
Australia, Canada and the US: laws differ between states and provinces, but most prohibit transporting your dog in a closed trunk or on your lap. Where dog restraint isn’t law, unrestrained pets can still be a factor in ‘distracted driving’ laws.
Why Crates are Best:
There are various options for restraining your dog, but a crash tested crate is the safest way to restrain your dog in a car. It is imperative that the crate manufacturer has performed crash tests that the crate has passed in order to guarantee your dog’s safety and that of you and your passengers. If your dog wriggles out of a harness or it fails in an accident, they may get loose and run away into traffic. A crate gives your dog an extra level of protection in a crash and ensures they’re safely contained. It also eliminates distractions while you’re driving.
MimSafe make it easy to find the right crate for you, your dog and your car. Use our car model search to find crates suitable for your car, or our crate fit search if you have a crate in in mind and need to know if it will fit.