AAA: Dogs are a distraction in the car

July 20, 2011

Orlando, FL – Many pet owners take their hands off the wheel and their eyes off the road to tend to their dogs while driving, according to survey results released July 19 by AAA.

In a survey of 1,000 dog owners, the automobile association found that 56 percent had driven with their dog at least once a month in the past year. Many respondents admitted to being distracted by petting their dog (52 percent), using their arm to brace the dog when braking (23 percent) and blocking the dog from entering the front seat (19 percent). Additionally, 17 percent of respondents allowed their dog to sit on their lap while driving, and 3 percent admitted to photographing their dog while behind the wheel.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, looking away from the road for only 2 seconds doubles the risk of being in a crash. To reduce distractions, AAA advocates drivers use pet restraints, something only 16 percent of survey respondents use.