Behind the Wheel, Unrestrained Dogs and Other Pets May be a Motorcyclist’s Worst Friend: Motorcycle Accident Attorneys California
While dogs may be man’s best friend—they are certainly NOT a motorcyclist’s best friend. According to a recent news story, pets riding unrestrained in vehicles may be more hazardous than helpful. Even as legislatures across the country are busy changing laws in regards to cell phone use and texting, many drivers including motorcyclists, are engaging in another risky habit—letting their dogs or other pets ride unrestrained in vehicles.
In 2009, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics, at least 5,474 people died and 448,000 were injured in vehicle accidents caused by distracted drivers. Although experts group pet-induced accidents within the overall category of “driver distractions,” the actual number of pet-related crashes is likely to be quite significant.
Not only do pets cause accidents by distracting drivers and motorcyclists, they tend to make those accidents worse because upon impact the pets can become deadly projectiles through their inertia. In addition, pets who are involved in accidents may run loose at the accident scene, causing further accidents and impeding rescuers.
Worst of all is the likelihood that pet-inside-vehicle crashes are a significant cause of serious or fatal accidents affecting motorcyclists. A dog sitting in a driver’s lap can be the split-second distraction that causes the driver to fail to see a vulnerable motorcyclist sharing the same roadway causing a motorcycle accident. And, since California law allows “lane splitting,” drivers—who are distracted by their pets—may swerve into bikers riding alongside them, with disastrous results.
In 2008, California officials recognized this danger and attempted to pass legislation that would make it illegal for pets to ride with their owners. This bill, also known as “the Paris Hilton bill” would’ve imposed a $35 fine for anyone caught with a pet in their lap while driving. While Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill, it did get the attention of other states. Currently, New Hampshire and Maine are two states which have laws in place to discourage drivers from allowing their pets to roam free in the car.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a California motorcycle accident caused by another person’s pet, or any animal, an experienced California motorcycle accident attorney can assess the circumstances of the motorcycle accident and help you win the relief you deserve. Call a California motorcycle attorney at 1-800-4-BIKERS today!
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