In 2019, Volvo Car USA and The Harris Poll conducted a study on unrestrained pets and the distraction they cause drivers. Pets are a beloved part of the family, but to allow pets to roam can increase unsafe driving habits and lead to human and animal stress.

This study followed 15 drivers for 30 hours and more to examine the behavior of drivers and pets both with unrestrained and restrained animals. The findings concluded that pets are a dangerous distraction to drivers.

Driving with unrestrained pets increases stress levels

If your beloved dog climbs over you while you are driving, how stressed will that make you? If you are like most drivers, this can seriously increase your stress levels. In fact, in a car with an unrestrained dog, most people’s heartrates increase. The dogs themselves also have a higher heartrate than normal. When you keep your dog seatbelted or restrained, then you are more likely to see a drop in your heartrate. Not only do you know that your pooch is safe, but you know that it will not interrupt your driving.

Driving with unrestrained pets increases unsafe driving behaviors

When you drive with your pet unrestrained, it is no surprise that you may not drive as safely. Pets do not understand vehicle safety. They can climb throughout your vehicle. Many pets will climb onto your lap. In addition, they may leap from seat to seat and force you to look away from the road. Drivers who have unrestrained pets tended to suffer distractions for over three hours, compared to over an hour when restrained.