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The Statistics: Car Safety and Pets in America

This article is a part of a larger Pet Pro Supply Co. series on Pet Safety. See the list of articles below:


    The Statistics: Car Safety and Pets in America

    Whether it is a quick run to the store or a cross-country trip, traveling with your pet can and should be fun. No matter how long or short the duration of your trip might be, it is important to keep safety in mind for you, your loved ones, including your pets.

    Here are a few facts you should be aware of whenever you consider traveling with your pets, whether by yourself or with your loved ones.

    • There are 43.3 million households in the US with pets.
    • 84% of dog owners traveling with their dogs are not restraining them.
    • Only 16% of people who transport their dogs use proper safety restraints.
    • 60% of dog owners have driven while distracted by their pets as passengers. 
    • 52% of dog owners have petted their dog while driving.
    • 17% percent of drivers allowed their dog to sit in their lap while driving.
    • 13% percent of drivers admitted to giving food or treats to their dog while driving.
    • 4% percent of drivers acknowledged playing with their dog while driving.

    Traveling safely and responsibly with your pet is not just about reducing the risk of harm or fatal injury to your dog; it is about the safety of human occupants as well. You owe it to yourself, your passengers and your beloved pet to make everyone’s journey as safe as possible.

    Car Crash and Pet Statistics

    • According to a survey by the American Automobile Association, over 80% of dog owners’ drive with their pets in the car. There are 43.3 million households with pets, so that is an impressive number of people on the road with dogs in the car. Only 16% of people who transport their dogs use proper safety restraints.
    • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 5,687,000 crashes in 2013, with 1,591,000 injuries and 32,719 fatalities. Of that, an estimated 172,000 children were injured in those traffic crashes. There is a good chance there were pets in these vehicles since 34.4 million American households drive with their pets. Over 80% of those pets were likely unrestrained, which means those pets were most likely injured, and at the very minimum, in shock.
    • A full 51% of travelers with pets say they would bring their pets along on every vacation if they could, according to a recent AAA/Best Western survey. 
    • According to the National Safety Council, over 2.5 million rear-end collisions are reported every year, making them the most common type of automobile accident. This is where most pets should be contained, which is why it is important to use crash tested pet safety products.
    • If a car crashes at a speed of just 25mph, an unrestrained dog can be projected forward at a force equal to 40 times its weight. A large-size dog weighing 75 lbs., for example, can achieve an impact force of 3,000 pounds in a car crash, which could be a lethal blow for both a passenger and the pet. (Allianz website – Keeping pets safe in the car)
    • Even for smaller pets traveling at just 30 miles per hour, an unrestrained 10-lbs dog will exert 300 pounds of pressure in an accident, according to Jennifer Huebner-Davidson, traffic safety programs manager for AAA. Without a crash tested safety restraint, that pint-size pooch can injure passengers and become severely injured on impact. (CNN - Rethink your dog roaming freely)

    General Car Crash Statistics

    • According to the NHTSA, there were 5,687,000 crashes in 2013 with 1,591,000 injuries and 32,719 fatalities. 
    • An estimated 172,000 children were injured in those traffic crashes.
    • According to the National Safety Council, over 2.5 million rear-end collisions are reported every year, making them the most common type of automobile accident.
    • NHTSA data show that 95% of single-vehicle rollovers are tripped. This happens when a vehicle leaves the roadway and slides sideways, digging its tires into soft soil or striking an object such as a curb or guardrail. The high tripping force applied to the tires in these situations can cause the vehicle to roll over.
    • Rollover accidents kill more than 10,000 people each year in the United States.
    • The rate of serious injury in passenger vehicle rollover crashes is 36 percent higher than in crashes where there is no rollover.
    • Sport utility vehicle fatalities account for 61% of all rollover fatalities.
    • Almost 500,000 people in the United States suffer the effects of a spinal cord injury and there are around 10,000 new cases each year.
    • 35% of spinal cord injuries are caused by automobile accidents, making car crashes the leading cause of spinal cord injuries.