Drivers are putting their lives at risk – as well as those of their passengers and other road users – by not strapping their dogs into their cars.
Experts say if a car crashes at a speed of 40 km/h (25 mph), an unrestrained dog can develop projection forces 40 times that of its weight. At higher speed it will be still greater, possibly injuring or killing the dog or a human it hits.
A poll of 1,000 dog-owning drivers revealed 45 per cent do not secure their pets every time they drive and more than half of those allow their pets to roam free in the vehicle on every single journey.
Insurance claims can be invalidated if pets are not safely restrained in the vehicle.
The Ford survey found 29 per cent said their dog ‘doesn’t like being strapped down’ or crated during a drive, and 25 per cent claimed it’ was ‘pointless’ on a short journey. Ford produced a short video to explain the facts.
Another 17 per cent said they could not fit a dog crate – recognised as one of the safest ways to transport pets – into their car.
Ford commissioned the study in the wake of the development of the all-new Focus estate, which was designed to accommodate the biggest possible dog crate, which can even carry an Irish Wolfhound, the world’s tallest breed of dog.
|The Focus was a labour of love for Ford engineer Rene Berns, who enlisted the help of Emil, his Australian Shepherd, to ensure the biggest possible crate could be accommodated.
He said, “Most people would be heartbroken if anything ever happened to their beloved dog – and nobody expects to crash.
“But it is vital that, for everyone’s benefit, full safety precautions are taken when transporting our four-legged friends.”
“I know how much it means to me to be able to take Emil with me wherever I am going, and I’m proud that he has helped make that easier for other dog owners and their pets to travel safely and in comfort”.
The study also found 35 per cent of dog owners have been distracted by their pet when they’re meant to be paying attention to the road
A total of 37 per cent of drivers who do not restrain their dogs have let their pets stick their head out of the car window while in motion.
And incredibly, a tenth of respondents have watched in horror as their dog leapt out of an open window while driving – with six in 10 pets being injured or even, in some cases, dying.