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Safety Tips When Driving With Pets  

More than one-quarter of all car crash fatalities in B.C. are linked to some form of distracted driving. In many instances, distracted driving is linked to technology: talking on the phone, texting, or using social media while driving all contribute to distracted driving. Distracted driving is not limited to our love of technology. Anything that competes with the road and traffic for your attention contributes to driver distraction. If you are traveling with a pet, you can take a few precautions to reduce your distraction while on the road.

Prep Your Pet

Build up stamina for the long haul with a series of short drives around town. These short drives will acclimate your pet to the car and your safety routine when preparing for a trip. Pets, especially dogs, thrive on routine and are calmer passengers when they know what to expect. When a pet is upset or anxious, you may pay more attention to it than to the road.

Secure Your Pet

Just as you would insist your children be buckled safely in the car, so should your pet. By placing your pet in a well-ventilated crate or carrier, he or she will feel safer and be less of a distraction to the driver. Unsecured pets roaming about the vehicle are a distraction to the driver and can cause a serious accident. Additionally, unsecured pets can be seriously injured or killed in the event of a motor vehicle accident.

Be sure to secure the crate safely in the seat with a seat belt or place it in the cargo area of your SUV. According to the BC Motor Vehicles Act, placing an unsecured pet in the back of a pickup truck is a serious motor vehicle violation, not to mention puts your pet at serious risk for injury.

Another option is to invest in a safety harness. These harnesses are readily available online and in pet stores. They work with your vehicle’s seat belts to allow your pet some movement while keeping them safely in their seat. These harnesses prevent the animal from climbing onto the driver’s lap or under his or her feet. These devices also prevent the pet from being ejected from the vehicle in case of an accident.

Distracted Driving = Steep Penalties

As of June 1, 2016, BC law enacted steep penalties for distracted driving in an effort to increase safety awareness and practices among drivers. A first infraction can cost a driver up to $543 in fees and 4 points for a violation ticket.

An unsecured pet can cause a driver to quickly become distracted. As Vancouver personal injury lawyers, we have seen the results of distracted driving in our community. If you have been injured in a car accident due to distracted driving, contact one of our personal injury lawyers today. We offer free consultations and are here to answer any questions you may have in case of an incident of distracted driving.

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