18 August 2010


CONTACT: For your local media contact visit www.AAA.com/Media

Jessica Brady, manager, AAA Public Relations, (813) 288-7294 office, (813) 532-5327 cell

Leticia Messam, manager, AAA Traffic Safety Programs, (813) 288-7988 office, (813) 786-7830 cell 


40 percent of Tennessee travelers do not restrain their pet while traveling in a vehicle

TAMPA, Fla. (Aug. 18, 2010) — Twenty-seven percent of Tennessee residents plan to travel with their pet in the remainder of 2010, however 40 percent of them do not restrain their pet when traveling in a vehicle, shows a recent AAA Consumer Pulse™ survey. Many people consider their pet a part of the family, yet they may never think to buckle them up when on the road. Although seventy-one percent of Tennessee travelers are aware of pet restraint devices, they seldom use them.

"Many people remember to buckle themselves up, but forget that pets are in as much danger unrestrained as humans. An unrestrained pet not only endangers itself, but everyone in the vehicle as well,” said Michele Harris, director, AAA Traffic Safety Culture. "As fun as it may be to travel with your pet, safety should be the number one concern." 

Pet owners often do not realize the amount of force a pet can generate if in a vehicle crash and unrestrained. An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at 50 mph will exert roughly 500 pounds of pressure, while an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert 2,400 pounds of pressure. This amount of force can cause serious injury and/or death to not only the pet, but passengers as well.

One out of three dog owners admit to being distracted by their dog while driving, and twice as many (2 out of 3) admit to engaging in distracting activities with their dog while driving, according to a national survey conducted by AAA and Kurgo. 

“Looking away from the road for only two seconds doubles a driver’s risk of being in a crash,” said Harris. “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.”

A variety of products are available that can reduce the amount of distractions a pet can cause when in a vehicle and, at the same time, keep everyone safe. AAA recommends owners utilize a restraint system anytime they are driving with their pet—even close to home. Pet vehicle restraints are sold at many pet retailers and online at Furry Travelers where AAA members receive 15 percent off on all travel-related pet products.

For a list of the Top Ten Vehicles for pet owners, facts, or to download b-roll visit Public Affairs section of AAA.biz

Dangers of Traveling with an Unrestrained Pet:

  • If in a crash, an unrestrained pet can become stressed and aggressive trying to bite paramedics or others who come to help
  • If in a crash, an unrestrained pet can flee the vehicle and injure itself and/or cause another accident as vehicles try to avoid hitting the animal
  • An unrestrained pet can distract the driver of the vehicle, causing the driver to crash
  • The pet can become a projectile in the vehicle and can potentially injure or kill both the pet and passengers if in a crash

AAA Auto Club South is the third largest affiliate of AAA, with 78 branch offices serving 4.1 million members in Florida, Georgia, West and Middle Tennessee, and Puerto Rico. Since its founding in 1938, AAA Auto Club South has worked to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve travel safety.

The online survey of 223 AAA Auto Club South members in Tennessee was conducted April 27- May 11, 2010. The overall maximum margin of error is plus/minus 6.6 percentage points.