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Cars and Pets
With the pet travel expected to rise with the Easter long weekend, Pet Insurance Australia (PIA) is reminding all pet owners to keep their animals secure and safe while travelling in vehicles.
“It is simply not safe to have pets unrestrained in cars,” Nadia Crighton spokesperson for Pet Insurance Australia says. “It is not only a danger to the animal, but also to the car’s occupants.”
Many Australian families, unknowing of the dangers and the law, allow their dogs to jump around inside moving vehicles while driving.
“Sadly, even during a minor accident, animals that are not restrained can suffer dire consequences,” Crighton says. “The animal can also cause serious injuries to the car’s occupants.”
The law, in regards to restraining pets during travel, differs from State to State.
“The Australian Road Rules make it an offence to drive with an animal on your lap,” Crighton says. “The penalties range from high demerit points and hefty fines.”
In some States these fines can increase substantially if caught with an unrestrained animal, which is deemed to be causing a distraction to the driver, particularly in a school zone.
“These laws are there to prevent animal cruelty,” Crighton says. “They are not there to inconvenience pet owners.”
PIA is urging all Australians to consider the consequences of having an unrestrained pet in a car travelling 100km per hour that suffers from an unforeseen accident.
“The outcome of this scenario is simply horrific, if pet owners are aware of this, there is no doubt in my mind that all pets travelling in cars would be correctly restrained.”
Many of the State Legislations stipulate that motorist should not drive with an animal or person on their lap. It is also illegal to allow a dog to remain unrestrained in a tray-top.
“The dog needs to be in a correctly anchored travel crate/box or tethered to the tray to prevent the animal from jumping or falling from the vehicle.”
“It is also vital dog owners correctly measure the chain used to anchor the dog to the back of the ute. “In the past 12months, we had a case of dog being dragged by a ute as a result of the tether-chain being too long,” Crighton says.
“Needless to say this was a horrific incident for the dog and, the distraught owner, who was oblivious to scene unfolding behind the vehicle.”
Pets, of all shapes and sizes, should be restrained in the car by either a specially designed pet carrier, or with using an animal car restraint.
“Many dog harnesses actually use the seatbelt to anchor the animal to the seat,” Crighton says. “There is literally a product to suit any sized pet, and comfort needs.”
However, it is not uncommon to see dogs bouncing around a vehicle, or travelling unsafely during travel.
“Sadly, many times this message is just not getting out,” Crighton says. “It is not uncommon to see unrestrained dogs hanging out of windows, bouncing around the car and even riding on the back shelf. This is very, very, unsafe.”
“There are many great products on the market that can restrain your pet in the car,” Crighton says. “It is something many people do not consider, until something goes terribly wrong.”
Pets travelling on laps or jumping from the backseat to the front can also become a dangerous distraction to the driver.
“If pet owners seriously considered what could happen during an accident, all pets would be restrained.” Crighton says. “It just makes sense for the safety of everyone on-board.”
Taking time to consider car safety for your pet can prevent irreversible injury to yourself, your family and, your beloved pet.
Nadia Crighton – firstname.lastname@example.org
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Contact information: Nadia Crighton, Pet Insurance Australia, 95 Sixth Road, Berkshire Park, New South Wales 2765