Will Your Pet Restraint Protect Your Dog in an Accident?

October 20, 2013  

Boston car accident lawyers know that responsible pet owners typically use restraints to secure their dog when driving with their animal in the car. Most manufacturers of pet restraints claim to test their products to ensure safety in a car accident and to help put pet owner's minds at ease. New research, however, suggests that most pet car restraints aren't actually safe at all. bichon2-1429569-m.jpg

Pet owners need to understand the safety protocols in place for pet restraints and should do research carefully to ensure that the restraint they choose will provide the best protection for their beloved animal companion.

Crash Tests on Pet Restraints are Cause For Concern

While manufacturers of pet restraints have claimed in the past that their products were tested and proven to be effective at reducing the risk of accident injuries, uniform standards have long been lacking. In the U.S., there are no test protocols or performance standards for pet travel products, which means that manufacturers claims on pet restraint effectiveness could not be substantiated. This left pet owners without any guarantee that the products they were buying to protect their dogs would actually reduce the risk of injury in a crash.

To try to resolve this problem, Subaru of America teamed up with the Center for Pet Safety (CPS) to conduct crash tests on pet harness restrains in vehicles. Subaru and CPS sought the assistance of an independent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration laboratory, MGA Research Corporation, to conduct rigorous crash tests using the most popular pet safety harnesses available today.

Specially designed crash test dogs of different sizes were developed for the test, including a dog crash test dummy mimicking a terrier, a border collie and a golden retriever. The pets were put into harnesses and testing was performed in different accident conditions.

Unfortunately, as Parade.com reported, many of the most popular harnesses had major flaws. In fact, only one harness-- the Sleepypod Clickit Utility Harness-- was able to consistently keep the dog from launching off of the seat in an accident.

The fact that other tested harnesses failed in this measure means that pets aren't the only ones who are at risk from sub-standard pet restraints. When a dog launches off of a car seat, the pet can strike human passengers and cause serious injury to people as well.

The test outcome, therefore, clearly showed that standard protocols need to be developed so that pet owners can make better choices about what safety harnesses to use in order to both protect canine travelers and to protect human drivers and passengers who share their cars with canine companions.

Fortunately, data from the study is being used to develop the first ever harness safety standards and test protocols that will be used as guidelines within the pet harness and restraint industry. The CPS expects to publish a harness standard later this year, which will standardized the design and testing process and make it easier for pet owners to avoid the risk of injuries to themselves or their pets if an accident happens.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident in the Boston area, contact Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-877-617-5333.

More Blog Entries:
New England Travel Safety: Preparing For Your Next Road Trip, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, August 23, 2013