According to the latest statistics released by insurance company experts, 1 out of 4 drivers have been distracted by their pet whilst driving. The report also reveals that males in the most dangerous group, those between the ages of 18 and 24, suffer most from these distractions.
Moreover, the research also shows that up to 32% of those who travel with a pet leave in the vehicle do so without restraining the animal, leaving it loose inside the cabin, a situation which is not only extremely dangerous, it is also illegal, on account of the risk to both the animal and the other vehicle occupants.
That said, when questioned further, the research shows that only 4% admit to carrying the animal insecure at all times, whilst the remaining 28% suggest that they only do so “occasionally”, although generally speaking it is only “occasionally” that animals are carried. As for sexes, men carry their pets more often; specifically, 23% more than women.
The figures are even more important if we take into account that more than half of these drivers, specifically 59.4%, also have children. The combination of a child and loose animal in the rear seats could increase the risk of being careless while driving and, therefore, of being immersed in an incident.
Regarding those who travel the most with their companion animal, the analysis shows differences by geographic zones. In particular, it is the Andalusians who do it more frequently, 74% of the time. They are followed by Basques and Madrileños, with 73%. On the opposite side we find the pet owners of Galicia and Castilla y León, who only take them with them 51% of the time. The Catalans claim to do so on 55% of their trips.
Animals, like humans and any object carried in the vehicle, must be secured. If a frontal collision occurs, deceleration causes the weight of the item, in the case we are talking about our pet, to multiply by 20 to 30 times. For example, in a frontal collision where two vehicles are travelling at just 30 kilometres per hour, the combined collision speed therefore being the equivalent of about a 60 kilometre per hour collision, a dog weighing 10 kilos would increase its mass and weigh up to as much as 300 kilos at the point of impact, causing significant damage to the vehicle, its occupants and the dog itself.
We must also realise that generally speaking, insurance companies do not consider animals as vehicle occupants, according to Carlo Brüggeman, co-founder of Acierto. Com, and would therefor unlikely be covered by the vehicle´s policy, although there are specific policies to cover the expenses of the veterinarian and even include compensation for accident or death.
The report also reveals that more than 85% of Spaniards prefer to use the car to travel with their pet compared to other means of transport such as train or plane, whose followers are reduced to 11.4% and 3% respectively. A point in which the ignorance of the users and the restrictions of the transport companies themselves take on special relevance. In fact, train operating company Renfe itself circumscribes its service to pets weighing less than 10 kilos. In the case of long distance trains, in addition, it is necessary to buy a ticket for them. The limitations established by airlines are similar, although they vary enormously depending on the entity. However, obtaining documents and permits in accordance with the legislation of the country of destination may determine the trip.
Overall, the advice is simple. To keep everybody safe, including your pet, and to comply with the law, the animal must be secure at all times. If carried in a cage or carrying case, then that too must also be secure.