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AAA: Labor Day weekend travel should include pet restraints
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This weekend, a similar scene will play out across the country as folks gear up for Labor Day weekend road trips.

Luggage in the trunk and kids buckled up in the back seat. But where’s Fido?

“Many people remember to buckle themselves up, but forget pets are in as much danger unrestrained as humans,” said

Michele Harris, AAA Traffic Safety Culture director. “An unrestrained pet not only endangers itself, but everyone in the vehicle as well.”

According to AAA, in a vehicle crash at 50 mph, an unrestrained 10-pound dog can exert about 500 pounds of pressure.

At only 30 mph, an 80-pound dog can exert more than 2,400 pounds of pressure, the travel agency reports.

“I never really thought about that — I guess because we always assume that we’ll reach our destination in one piece,” said

Robin Love, a Hall County resident, about traveling with her unrestrained pets.

“I love my pets and I’d hate to see anything happen to them, but I’d hate even more to have one of my passengers seriously injured because my pet slammed into their neck or something during a crash.”

Being involved in a crash can cause animals to become disoriented, and if left unrestrained, they may run into traffic and cause other accidents, AAA warns.

With  more than 850,000 Georgians projected to take to the roads this holiday weekend, AAA estimates there will be many pets accompanying their owners on vacation. More pets in vehicles, especially if unrestrained, can lead to more distractions,

“I bought one of those booster seats for my Yorkie — which is the best of both worlds,” said Mary-Alice Jones, a Cleveland resident. “It raises her up so she can see out of the window, and I don’t have to worry about her climbing all over me trying to stand on my lap to get a better view.”

In a AAA poll, 1 out of 3 dog owners admitted to being distracted by their pet while driving.

Additionally, 2 out of 3 pet owners admitted to engaging in distracting activities with their pets while driving.

“Looking away from the road for only two seconds doubles a driver’s risk of being in a crash,” Harris said. “No distraction is less dangerous than another, so drivers should eliminate as many distractions as possible in an effort to be as safe as possible.”

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