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For drivers, frisky dogs are as distracting as texting

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Much attention has been paid to texting while driving – a behind-the-wheel texting ban will soon go into effect in the Bay State – but feeding puppy treats to Fido while driving can also be risky and distracting.

So suggests a new survey from AAA and Kurgo, a maker of pet travel products. According to the survey, dog-owning drivers engage in all sorts of risky behind-the-wheel behaviors such as feeding and petting a dog or allowing a mutt to sit in a wheelman’s lap.

Of dog owners surveyed, 31 percent admitted to being distracted by their dog while driving, and 59 percent said they have participated in at least one distracting behavior while driving with their dog, AAA said.

“Restraining your pet when driving can not only help protect your pet, but you and other passengers in your vehicle as well,” Lloyd P. Albert, AAA Southern New England senior vice president of public and government affairs, said in a statement. “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. Imagine the devastation that can cause to your pet and to anyone in its path.”

Source:  http://www.boston.com/business/ticker/2010/08/for_drivers_pet.html