Pets in vehicles cause crashes, but Colorado doesn’t require restraints. Unfortunately, that means that there may be many drivers on the road who have pets walking around the vehicles while they’re driving. It might mean that a driver has a pet on their lap or holding its head out the window when they’re on their way to work or home.
Even though there is no law prohibiting pets from being in vehicles without safety restraints, Colorado law does require drivers to stay focused. If a driver becomes distracted because of looking after their pet in a vehicle, then they could face repercussions.
Pets in vehicles can make for dangerous distractions
Anyone who has had a pet knows that they can be a serious distraction. A dog that suddenly has to go to the bathroom in the vehicle or one that tries to jump out a moving vehicle’s open window could cause a driver to become distracted and cause a collision. Something as simple as the dog or cat trying to jump into the driver’s lap could cause a collision, too.
It’s not safe for pets to be unrestrained in vehicles
Pets are family, but yet many pets are unrestrained in vehicles. If you’re involved in a crash with a pet, the pet is more likely to be thrown inside or out of the vehicle, which could lead to serious injury or death. Even a quick stop could be enough to hurt a smaller animal, so it’s unsafe to drive without a pet in a safety seat, seat-belt harness or crate.
What should you do if you’re hit by a driver who had a pet in the vehicle?
The priority after any car accident is to get medical help for anyone who has been injured. If a pet has been injured, let the 911 operator know that you will need animal control or emergency veterinary services. Someone at the scene may need to transport the pet to a veterinary hospital.
As for yourself, seek medical care immediately. Your health has to be a priority. You can take steps to hold the at-fault driver responsible for their distractions and negligence once you’re medically stable.