Year of the Dog 2018 and Canine Seatbelts
February 16th kicks of the Chinese New Year for 2018. Apparently, it’s the Year of the Dog. According to the Chinese Zodiac, people born in a “dog year,” have personality traits similar to this animal, such as loyalty, trustworthiness, and a strong work ethic. They’re often close to their family and friends. If you’re born in a “dog year,” you might also value making other people happy more than you prioritize success or wealth.
But what does the Year of the Dog have to do with driving? We’re glad you asked.
To help commemorate this year’s Chinese zodiac animal, we’d like to revisit the idea of whether or not your dog should wear a seatbelt when you take him or her for a ride in your car.
Which States Require Dog Seatbelts?
Currently, only eight states have a law that states that your dog must wear a canine-specific harness when in a vehicle: Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.
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Pet Safety and Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is one concern related to the dog seatbelt issue. According to a AAA & Kurgo Pet Passenger Survey, 65% of dog owners admit to doing at least one potentially distracting action while taking their dog for a ride. More than four in five respondents agreed that having their dog in their car without a seatbelt was a safety hazard. Whether you’re petting your dog, throwing it a treat, or taking a quick picture of it, any of these actions take your concentration off the important task of driving safely.
Your dog’s protection is a major reason to consider purchasing and regularly using a safety harness whenever your pet accompanies you on a road trip. The same survey mentioned above also uncovered that an unrestrained 10-pound dog in a car accident will exert 500 pounds of force if the car is traveling at 50 mph. It also found that an 80-pound dog traveling in a car going 30 mph will exert approximately 2400 pounds of force. Yikes…
Call to Action
Considering that dogs are one of our most cherished pets (and, in many cases, family members), let’s take a moment this Year of the Dog to re-evaluate our driving habits with our dogs to make sure they’re as safe as possible.
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Whitney Russell is a current resident of Dayton, though her spirit can be found beach-bumming on Puerto Rico (the land of her half-Puerto Rican heritage). When not adventuring through the exciting world of car news, she can be found hiking with her husband and their Labrador, motorcycling, reorganizing and/or decorating some corner of the world (most likely in yellow), researching random things, hanging out with her hoard of cute nephews and nieces, and escaping into a great movie or story. See more articles by Whitney.