There are plenty of distractions that can prove dangerous while driving, but AAA has conducted a study showing that driving with an unrestrained dog can be more dangerous than most realize.
The key word there is "unrestrained." Twenty-one percent of those surveyed admitted to letting a dog sit in their laps while more than half pet their dog while rolling down the street. Seven percent have given food and water to their dog while five percent actually play with their dog.
"An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at 50 mph will exert roughly 500 pounds of pressure, while an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert 2400 pounds of pressure," said Beth Mosher, AAA Director of Public Affairs. "Imagine the devastation that can cause to your pet and anyone in the vehicle in its path."
The online study has a sample size of 1000 dog owners who have driven with their dog in the last year.
AAA has also just named the best vehicles for kids and dogs, naming the Toyota Venza and Honda Element. The Element, you may recall, has a dog-friendly package that keeps the dog inside the cargo area within a nylon-webbed car kennel -- out of reach of the driver. The floor of the cargo area is softer and there's a special ramp to make the entry into the back easier for older dogs. There's even a spill-resistant water bowl.
If the Element or Venza isn't for you, what have you found is a safe and dog-friendly vehicle?