Pianko Law Group

How are Dogs Increasing the Risk for Car Accidents?

Dog with its the head out of a car window
Pianko Law Group 
July 29, 2021

Having a dog is very common throughout the United States, with over 78 million dogs residing in American homes. In New York City, almost 48% of homes have one or more canines living with them. The introduction of Pupcups and other dog treats at the drive-thru windows, their love for sticking their head out the window, and the need to transport the pup for grooming and veterinarian appointments require most pet owners to take their dog on car rides at some point.

Only 16% of owners say they use some form of pet restraint while driving, According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA). So, whatever the reason for having your pooch accompany you while in a motor vehicle, it is crucial to have them secured because an unsecured dog may increase the risk of a car accident in several ways.


Dogs not restrained within a vehicle can move around the car, bark or growl at other dogs, lunge or jump around the car, and perform other distracting behaviors. If an owner adverts their attention from the road to pay attention to or calm down their dog, they can cause a collision.

Approximately 65% of individuals said they engaged in some sort of distracted driving activity with their dog in the car, such as:

« Petting

  • Taking Photos of the dog

« Using an arm to prevent the dog from climbing in the front seat or to restrict movement of the pup when braking

« Allowing their dog to sit on their lap while driving

« Feeding treats or playing with their pet while operating a vehicle


To prevent collisions drivers need to be able to see through the windows at all times. Larger dogs can form barriers and prevent the driver from properly seeing out the window and obscure the driver's view of cars, pedestrians, or other driving hazards.


When a dog is unrestrained in the vehicle and a car accident occurs, the dog can become a projectile. A projectile is one of the biggest dangers of having unrestrained pets. Even if the dog is a small pup, during a high-impact crash your pet can cause an immense amount of harm to anyone in the car. For example, if a 10-pound dog is in the car, going 50 mph and a crash occurs, that 10-pound dog has now become 500 pounds of force. Imagine if you had a larger dog in the car, going the same speed during a crash.

What can you do to prevent such injuries from occurring?

The easiest and most common way to restrain your pet is to use a pet carrier. Some have even been crash-tested to help improve the safety of your canine and other vehicle passengers. Another option to look into is a pet barrier. These contraptions keep pets in the back of the vehicle so that if a car accident were to occur, they would not fly to the front and injure themselves and other passengers. A third option is to get a harness that can be attached to a seat belt. This would secure your pet like any other passenger in the car.

A car accident may seem like a routine part of life, but a serious crash can devastate you and your family. If you or a loved one has been injured in New York during an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and suffering you’ve subsequently endured. Recovering from a car accident can be extremely distressing while negotiating low settlement offers from an insurance company, adjusting to injuries and navigating everyday expenses if you must take a leave from work. Pianko Law has helped numerous individuals like yourself and your family recover the compensation they deserve.

PIANKO.LAW – Aggressive Personal Injury Lawyers


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