More than 1 in 4 dog-owning drivers don’t secure their pets safely in the car

A new survey has revealed that 32% of dog-owning drivers admit to not securing their pets safely in the car.

For many people, dogs are a part of the family, but whereas most people wouldn’t dream of allowing their children to travel unrestrained, the same is not true for their pets.

A new survey commissioned by Ford Motor Company shows that 32% of dog-owning drivers admit to not securing their pets safely in the car.

To do so is a legal requirement in many countries, and it is recognised that this is not only safer for the animals but also for drivers, passengers and other road users.

In the event of an accident, unrestrained dogs can be thrown around the car – increasing the likelihood of injury, both of themselves, drivers, passengers and other road users.

Of those dog owners surveyed who said they did not always secure their pets, 32% said it was because the animals did not like it, 31% claimed there was no need when undertaking short journeys and 14% said they did not have room for a dog crate.

More than 1 in 4 of those who carried their dog unsecured admitted that their pet had poked its head out of the window (26%). Some said pets had previously jumped out of the window resulting, on occasion, in the pet being killed or injured.

Owners also admitted being involved in accidents after being distracted by their pets, that dogs had turned on indicators, obscured the view ahead and bitten occupants.

Ford has designed the all-new Focus wagon, with the help of engineer Rene Berns’ dog, an Australian Shepherd called Emil, to accommodate the largest available dog crate.

During testing, Rene enlisted Emil’s help to ensure the biggest possible crate could be accommodated in the Focus wagon boot space. As a result, the vehicle can comfortably carry an Irish Wolfhound, the world’s tallest breed of dog.

Dog training expert, Graeme Hall, aka ‘The Dogfather’, said: “If you have a pet, please think of its safety­­ in the same way you would about any other member of the family. I always carry my dog Lily in the boot in her crate. She can comfortably move around and everyone’s safe. I believe that’s the best solution.”

Insurance claims can be invalidated if pets are not safely restrained in the vehicle and it has been estimated that if a car crashes at a speed of 40km/h (25mph), an unrestrained dog can develop projection forces that are 40 times its weight.

Together with his team in Cologne, Germany, Rene helped to maximise boot space in the Focus wagon by compressing the foam layer of the roof liner, altering the length of the hinge screws and reshaping the boot opening.

Rene Berns said: “I know how much it means to be able to take Emil with me wherever I am going, and I’m proud that he has helped make that easier for other dog owners and their pets to travel safely and in comfort.”