Pet car safety restraints found to be less-than-effective in recent study
Pets have become so imeshed in our everyday lives, and it's not uncommon to see a dog with his head peering out of an open window or, much to the dismay of many, riding in the back of a pick up truck.
With more willingness for so many people to try and keep their four-legged friends safe when partaking in activities alongside them, it wasn't long before pet product companies took notice. They've carved out a pretty nice niche in that area, with gear designed for plenty of different activities - seat belts and car harnesses included.
There's been much talk in recent months about the safety of pets while riding in vehicles, with one state, New Jersey, being a pioneer in making the push for a safety harness use law.
With so much focus on the idea, sales of vehicle restraints for pets have increased — but are these products as good an idea as they are touted to be?
One organization says not so fast.
Center for Pet Safety conducted a pilot study that suggests that the safety belts were not safe.
Lindsey Wolko, founder and chairman of the Center for Pet Safety says, "Saying that these products prevent your pet from becoming a projectile in an accident is a potentially misleading statement. In our pilot study, the harnesses tested failed to keep the dog from becoming a projectile in a standardized crash simulation."
Of four of the leading dog car harness brands, none held up in tests. All of them demonstrated that they either could lead to plausibly serious or fatal injuries for not only the canine but driver, too.
A 55-pound crash dummy dog was used to see how the seat belts would hold up in a collision at 30 miles per hour, patterning the same motor vehicle safety standards used to test child seats.
"With tens of millions of dogs traveling with their families every year, the use of pet travel safety restraints is at an all-time high," continues Wolko. "Safety advocates, travel associations and now law enforcement agencies are recommending or mandating the use of pet safety restraints."
There are no set standards when it comes to pet car restraints, so there isn't criteria by which to discern their success or failure.
One thing that is clear — and Wolko agrees — is that restraining a pet may help reduce incidents of distracted driving.
Watch a segment, including footage from the pilot study from the Today Show.
Do you use a harness or other restraint while your pet is riding in the vehicle?