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Pets in the car: Volvo study highlights the many dangers

ROCKLEIGH, New Jersey – A study by Volvo USA and The Harris Poll has shown that unrestrained pets in a moving vehicle can lead to significantly less-safe driving and more distraction and stress not only on the driver but also the pet.

Pets might be ”members of the family”, Volvo reports, but many owners don’t have safety in mind when driving with one in the car – as shown by a ”Keeping Pets Safe on the Road” survey.

Volvo and The Harris Poll followed 15 drivers and their dogs for more than 30 hours on the road to examine how driving with an unrestrained pet affects driving behaviour and how that is reduced with restraints such as pet belts, harnesses, crates, and carriers).

ALL FENCED IN: Calmer animals, better driving control. Image: Supplied

With pets allowed to roam freely, the survey found:

Unsafe driving behaviour more than doubled
649 instances while unrestrained / 274 restrained
Includes riding on a driver’s lap or head out the window
Time drivers were distracted more than doubled
3hr39min unrestrained vs. 1hr39min. restrained
Includes dogs jumping seat-to-seat, drivers’ eyes off the road
Stress on drivers and animals increased
Heart rates were likely to increase for people and pets
Unrestrained dogs ‘pulse seven beats/min faster
Drivers calmer when dog restrained, pulse 28-34 slower

The study further illustrates the dangers to all passengers, human and canine, when drivers do not restrain their dogs. This is echoed by internationally veterinarian Dr Elisa Mazzaferro from Cornell University – an expert in emergency and critical care of animals. She reported:

“Roaming pets can be cute but pose serious risk for drivers and their pets in terms of distraction and serious injury in the event of an accident. Unfortunately, in my field, we see the devastating consequences regularly – many of which can avoided by securing animals.”

And so to the plug: Volvo Cars claims to be the leading automaker in the development car-safety accessories for pets, aong them harnesses, load-compartment dividers, gates and grilles.

READ MORE Volvo features on Carman’s Corner

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