Lancashire high street insurance broker, BP Insurance Brokers, is warning dog owners to show some restraint this summer and focus on dash cams as much as dachshunds.
The experts at BP Insurance Brokers, which has branches in Blackpool, Lancaster, St Annes and Cleveleys, point to a recent case in which a motorist who was not at fault in an accident was left paying all the costs because he revealed he was travelling in his car with an unrestrained dog. As he had no dash cams or other means to prove the other driver’s actions, he had no proof that the dog did not distract him and cause the accident.
Travelling with an unrestrained dog is a safety issue for the pet, the driver and any passengers and BP Insurance Brokers is reminding local drivers that the Highway Code specifies that dogs, and other animals, should be restrained when travelling in the car.
Braking suddenly when travelling at 30mph, could cause a medium-sized dog to be flung forwards towards driver or passenger with the force of a baby elephant, resulting in life-threatening injuries. A dog could also be killed by an airbag, or from the injuries it itself sustains.
The antics of an unrestrained dog could also lead to the driver committing a motoring offence, such as driving without due care and attention or careless driving, if a dog is jumping around the car. If an accident resulted from this, an offence of dangerous driving could be committed. This would result in a driving disqualification and/or a possible custodial sentence.
Despite the facts and risks involved, RAC research suggests more than one in four motorists (27%) do not restrain their dog when it travels in their car. Nearly as many let their dogs just sit on a car seat. Additionally, 2% say their dog has caused them to have an accident.
BP Insurance Brokers’ advice is for dog owners to equip themselves with dog car harnesses and seatbelts, or a boot crate, so they never travel with an unrestrained dog. They should also never allow a dog to stick its head out of the window, to avoid injury and any impacts from flying debris. They should plan plenty of breaks, to give the dog exercise, and should not leave it in a hot car. Plenty of water should also be provided.
The advice for all motorists is to buy a dash cam, which will provide evidence of what happened to cause an accident.
BP Insurance Brokers’ managing director, Barry Pimlott, says: “We are a nation of dog lovers, but to love a dog should mean protecting it during car travel. There’s actually no justifiable reason for not using dog safety harnesses or seat belts and common sense and driving laws make these imperative.
“Dog owners, like other drivers, would benefit from dash cams, to better establish the facts at the time of an accident. Our insurance team can help with any queries about motor insurance and the use of dash cams as providers of accident evidence, so just call in, or ring us if you need help.”