Pets — many Louisiana residents have them and love them as regular members of their families. It is not uncommon to see people with their pets riding in the front passenger seats of their cars or even in their laps while they are driving. While this may seem like a normal practice and nothing to be worried about, it is actually a habit that can and has contributed to motor vehicle accidents.
Driving with a pet that is unrestrained distracts drivers. AAA conducted a survey recently regarding pet — particularly dog — distractions. According to the survey results, 29 percent of participants admitted that they were distracted by their animals while driving. Roughly 52 percent of drivers willingly admitted to petting their dogs while driving and 17 percent claimed to let their dogs sit in their laps. A small percentage of survey participants admitted to feeding or playing with their animals while operating their vehicles.
At the end of the day, distracted driving is distracted driving. If having one’s pet unrestrained in one’s vehicle causes a person to take his or her eyes off of the road, there is a good chance that an accident will happen. This is one reason why AAA advises animal owners to properly restrain their pets while they are in the car rather than allowing them to roam freely in the vehicle.
There is only one word to really describe a driver who is distracted by his or her pet: negligent. Louisiana residents who have suffered injuries in motor vehicle accidents with individuals who cared more about their pets than watching the road may be entitled to seek compensation for their losses. Legal counsel will have the ability to review the details of one’s case and help one take the steps necessary to seek relief.