Doggie seat belts may not always be life savers.
Restraints for traveling dogs in cars have become increasingly popular, and lawmakers in New Jersey are considering a bill mandating them.
But in simulated accidents, the four brands tested didn’t perform well.
“It was just astounding what we saw,” said Lindsey Wolko, who founded the non-profit Center for Pet Safety in 2011 after getting into a car accident while traveling with her dog. The harness failed and her dog Maggie suffered spinal injuries.
The tests applied the same federal motor vehicle safety standards for testing child seats. Using a 55 pound stuffed test dog, Wolko and her team simulated a 30-mile-per-hour collision. You can find video of all four tests here.
In one case the harness allowed too much slack, and the dog crashed into the back of the front seat. In two others, the harnesses snapped, sending the dogs flying through the air. And in a fourth, the harness slid up to the dog’s neck on impact.
“I don’t think that there’s any doubt that those dogs would have been seriously injured, if not fatally injured,” Wolko said.
The manufacturers are not being identified by the center. “Our primary concern is NOT to attack individual manufacturers for selling well-intentioned products. If we share brands at this early stage in our work, we shift the focus away from what is truly needed: measurable, safe standards that manufacturers can follow for the benefit of consumers,” the center says on its website.
Unlike with human restraints, those made for dogs are not tested or regulated by the government and there are no existing safety standards in place.
The American Pet Products Association, in response to Wolko’s findings, released a statement saying, “.. there are an increasing number of reported accidents where a pet distracting the driver is being cited as the cause. A pet restraint that merely limits a pets access and distraction to the driver and limits its motion in the event of an accident is still an improvement over no restraint.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 17th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, assembly, cars, center for pet safety, dog, dogs, harnesses, law, legislature, lindsey wolko, mandatory, new jersey, pets, research, restraints, safety, seat belts, seatbelts, study, travel