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Only half of BC pet owners own an animal safety device for the car, says ICBC poll

Last Updated Jun 21, 2018 at 10:13 am PST

(Screengrab: ICBC YouTube video)

ICBC and BC SPCA say a restraint helps protect you and your pet in the event of a crash

In the event of a collision, a loose pet can become a projectile

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Would you get a restraint for your pet in the car? A survey of drivers in BC finds while 40 per cent of pet owners plan to take their furry friend on road trip this summer, only half of them say they own a restraint or safety device for an animal.

Most people say a restraint isn’t necessary because their pet is calm, the trip is short, or they argue it’s safe for a pet to be on the loose.

But ICBC and the SPCA say not only does a restraint protect your pet in a crash, but it also protects you. Animals can be distracting, which can lead to a crash.

In the event of a collision, a loose pet can also become a projectile.

“Many drivers consider a pet as part of their family,” says Lorie Chortyk with the BC SPCA in a news release. “And as with any loved one that rides in your vehicle, we hope drivers will take steps to keep their dog or cat seated, secure and safe during every drive.”

The survey found at 85 per cent, cat owners are more likely to own a safety device than dog owners. Only 45 per cent of people with pups said they have one.

It’s recommended that pets never sit in the front seat and instead be secured in the back seat or cargo area of an SUV or van. Most pet owners surveyed said their animal did ride in the backseat.

Three quarters of respondents said playing with a pet while driving is distracting.

However, up to 14 per cent admitted to doing things like using arms to restrain an animal’s movements while putting on the brakes or reaching into the back seat to interact with their pet. Five per cent hold or allow their animal to sit on their lap while driving.

The SPCA is also reminding people not to leave their pets in hot cars. In summer weather, a car parked in the shade with windows cracked open can still get hot enough to lead to heatstroke or death.