Unrestrained pets aren’t as troublesome as kids in cars

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As North West drivers hit the road with their pandemic puppies in tow, a new poll from PEMCO Insurance shows that while a majority agrees unrestrained pets are a distraction for drivers, at least one in three say they always let their fur babies roam. or sit on his lap while driving. But when it comes to staying focused behind the wheel, drivers say there’s an even bigger distraction than stray pets – kids in the car.

According to the latest PEMCO survey, 77% of respondents in the Seattle and Portland areas say unrestrained pets provide at least some distraction for drivers when allowed to roam in the vehicle. Slightly more – 80% – also agree that it is at least somewhat important that pets are securely strapped in when going for walks.

Yet the survey found that around one in three drivers who own a cat or dog (34%) admit that they let their pet sit on their lap or roam around the vehicle sometimes or often while driving.

But when it comes to considering the biggest driving distractions, drivers today say it’s harder to stay focused when kids are in the car than when pets are passengers. This represents a shift in opinion, at least among Seattle drivers, since PEMCO last asked the same question of drivers in 2016, when many more pets were more distracting.

“We’ve all seen – or maybe even experienced – the joy of a dog sniffing the breeze or leaning its head outside a car window,” said PEMCO spokesperson Derek Wing. “And while that might be cute, most of us agree that it’s probably not the safest way for pets or passengers to travel. It’s encouraging to see that relatively few drivers say they allow pets to be unrestrained, but our data also shows that other drivers say they see stray dogs and cats far more often than pet owners might admit.

According to the survey, 83% of respondents say they often or sometimes see other drivers with unrestrained pets in their vehicle, which can pose serious safety risks to everyone. Even so, only 22% would strongly support tougher rules for driving with pets, whether that means better enforcement of existing laws, creating new ones or imposing penalties. more costly in the event of a violation.

In Washington, it is not illegal to drive with an unrestrained pet inside your vehicle, but according to the Washington State Patrol, if a driver is arrested for another offense and the forces of the order note that unrestrained pet constitutes a distraction, the driver may be fined. .

In Oregon, there is currently no law that requires drivers to restrain their pets while traveling inside the vehicle, but the law does require that pets that are outside of the vehicle cabin, such as in the bed of a truck, are secure.

When hitting the road with your canine co-pilot, PEMCO recommends that you keep these safety tips in mind:

Animals in the back. Airbags are a vital safety device for people, but not for pets. Protect your pet by restraining it in the back seat.

Use a crate or carrier. The safest way for pets to travel is in a well-secured crate or carrier, secured with a seat belt in the back seat. Choose a carrier that allows your pet to stand up and turn around, if possible.

Use a crash tested safety harness. If you can’t use a crate, consider a crash-tested harness that works in conjunction with your car’s seat belt. There are harnesses specifically designed for car travel, so do your homework before buying one.

Keep everyone inside the vehicle. Don’t let animals hang their heads out of the window while driving or wandering around a truck bed. They could be struck by debris or injured if the driver has to make sudden maneuvers.

Check the temperature. When making pit stops, do not leave pets unattended in a hot vehicle. On a 75 degree day, interior temperatures can reach 100 degrees or more, even with cracked windows.

For a full summary of PEMCO’s proprietary poll results, visit www.pemco.com/blog/nw-polls, where you’ll find responses collected by FBK Research of Seattle in February 2022.

About the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Survey

PEMCO Mutual Insurance commissioned this independent survey, conducted by Seattle-based FBK Research, which asked residents of Washington and Oregon about driving habits and attitudes toward current Northwest issues. The sample size, 481 respondents in the Seattle metro area (King, Snohomish, Pierce counties) and 399 respondents in the Portland metro area (Multnomah, Marion, Clackamas counties, Washington) gives an accuracy of +/- – 5.0% respectively at the 95% confidence level. In other words, if this study was conducted 100 times, in 95 cases the data will not vary by more than the associated error range.

About PEMCO Mutual Insurance

PEMCO Mutual Insurance is the defender of your Northwest, providing auto, home, renters and boat coverage. We are constantly recognized for our exceptional service, the expertise of our employees and our social impact. Our mutual benefit programs increase the levels of achievement of young people in education; building stronger and greener environments; and increase safety at home, on the road and at play. Our mission: Free our communities to worry less and live more. To learn more, visit www.pemco.com.

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