There’s an auto liability issue at play that many may not think about. A large majority of drivers bring their pets as passengers and most avoid using restraints to keep them safe, risking accidents, according to a new survey.
CarInsurance.com, in a poll of 1,000 drivers, found that 72 percent of respondents bring their pets in the car. But 40 percent said they only restrain their pets sometimes. About 27 percent never use restraints. Just 33 percent said they always restrain their pets, the survey found.
The survey found that 80 percent of drivers have only dogs in their car, and 13 percent ride with both dogs and cats. Just 6 percent ride with only cats, and 1 percent ride with “other” animals including parrots, parakeets, rabbits, ferrets and fish.
What’s more, 36 percent of drivers who say they travel with pets in their cars let the animals sit in their laps, according to the survey. About 43 percent of men do so, versus 29 percent of women.
Drivers who ride with their pets in tow that aren’t safely restrained create an auto accident risk, noted Michelle Megna, managing editor of the auto price quote comparison website.
“Given how so few drivers use animal safety restraints, it’s not surprising that 14 percent of the drivers who travel with their pets said they’ve been in an accident or had a ‘near miss’ due to their pet distracting them,” Megna said in prepared remarks.
Megna noted that liability car insurance will pay for damage to the other driver’s car and for others’ injuries if you crash while driving with your pet, even if it distracted you without restraints.
CarInsurance.com pointed out that animal safety experts recommend using a harness, crate or restraint for pets riding in automobiles.
CarInsurance conducted its online survey of drivers over age 18 in February 2015.