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Do Dogs Cause Distracted Driving?

Do Dogs Cause Distracted Driving?

If you have been injured in a distracted driving accident, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation for your injuries. The Riverside distracted driving accident attorneys at Heiting & Irwin, APLC have recovered over $500 million for our clients, and we can go to work for you.

Pets Can Cause Distracted Driving

Pet owners like to have their dogs with them in the car. However, drivers sometimes don’t take their focus away from their dogs, even when it should be on the road. Pets can lead to serious distracted driving accidents that can seriously injure or even kill you and your family.

Reach out to the distracted driving accident lawyers at Heiting & Irwin for diligent and compassionate legal representation. We will focus on getting justice and accountability while taking the time to communicate with you throughout the legal process.

Some Drivers Do Not Think That Pets Are a Distraction

Awareness campaigns warn drivers that sending and reading texts behind the wheel can be deadly. As a result, many motorists think that it is ok to do anything else when driving, so long as they are not on their phones. The truth is that numerous other activities are considered distracted driving, and significantly raise the risk of a serious accident. 

For example, many dog owners do not use pet seat belts. These belts would restrain the dog in place and keep it from moving around while the car is in motion. Depending on where and how the animal is moving, the owner may need to use hands or arms to physically restrain the dog. In extreme cases, the owners may even allow the dog to sit on their lap, sometimes keeping them from being able to properly steer the car. 

Most Dog Owners Do Not Fully Focus on the Road

91% of pet owners admit to having interacted with their animal in the car while driving. In another study, 52% of drivers admit to petting their dog when behind the wheel. Drivers may try to feed the dog treats or snacks. In the extreme scenario, some drivers may even take pictures of their dog. The driver is only focused on themselves and their animal – they are certainly not attentive to your safety.

In many of these interactions, the driver has taken their eyes off the road for at least a “brief”  but, on a highway, a car can travel nearly two football fields in only five seconds. On city streets, traffic patterns can change in an instant, children can dart into the street, etc. requiring the driver’s full attention. 

It should go without saying that a dog should not be in the front seat of the car, both for purposes of the animal’s safety and to keep the driver focused. Dogs should be restrained in the rear of the car, and the owner should only interact with them when stopped. Drivers should plan for their animal with stops to give the animal a chance to walk around, etc.

How Distracted Dog Owners Can Cause Serious Accidents

When drivers pay attention to their dogs instead of the road, they are more likely to:

  • Rear-end the car in front of them because they did not see them slowing down or stopping
  • Sideswipe a car when changing lanes because the driver failed to properly check their blind spot
  • Run a stop sign or red light
  • Miss a sign or veer out of their lane, putting them in a position even to cause a head-on accident

All it takes is momentary inattention to dramatically raise the risks of a major car accident. And, not only is the driver distracted when they are interacting with their pet, but it takes them several additional seconds to refocus on the road.  All of this increases risk and puts others in danger. 

You Just Need to Prove Negligence

We do not have to prove that the driver was actually distracted to win your car accident case. All we must show is that the driver was negligent. However, distracted driving is usually negligent driving, and when we show that there was an unrestrained pet in the car, it could help when liability is a closer call. Our team of distracted driving accident lawyers in California will investigate what happened and help build the evidence that is needed. 

Contact a Riverside Distracted Driving Accident Attorney Today

To improve your chances of getting the largest possible settlement for your car accident injuries, call the experienced Riverside distracted driving accident lawyers at Heiting & Irwin today. We can go over your case with you during your free initial consultation, explaining the legal process and whether you may be able to file a claim. Call us today at 951-682.6400.

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