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Dog Travel Statistics

AAA & Kurgo Pet Passenger Survey

  • 78 million dogs reside in more than 46 million U.S. households according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA).
  • Nearly six in 10 (56%) respondents have driven with their dog in a vehicle at least once a month over the past year, according to the AAA/Kurgo survey.
  • Three in 10 respondents (29%) admit to being distracted by their dog while driving.
  • Sixty-five percent of dog owners admit to engaging in at least one potentially distracting activity while driving with their dog.
  • Activities engaged in while driving with dogs by survey respondents include:
    • Petting their dog (52%)
    • Using hands or arms to restrict dog’s movement or hold dog in place when putting on brakes (23%)
    • Using hands/arms to keep dog from climbing from the backseat to the front seat (19%)
    • Reaching into backseat to interact with dog (18%)
    • Allowing dog to sit in lap or holding dog while driving (17%)
    • Giving food or treats to dog (13%)
    • Playing with dog (4%)
    • Taking a photo of dog (3%)
  • Looking away from the road for only two seconds doubles your risk of being in a crash, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 20 percent of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving.
  • More than four in five (83%) respondents agree that having an unrestrained dog in a moving car can be dangerous.
  • Only 16 percent of dog owners who have driven with their pet use some form of restraint while their dog is in the vehicle.
  • Eighty-four percent of respondents bring their dogs on car trips but do not use a restraint. The reasons for not using a pet travel restraint include:
    • My dog is calm and do not think he/she needs a restraint (42%)
    • Never considered it (39%)
    • Just take dog on short trips (29%)
    • Want dog to be able to put head out window (12%)
    • Too complicated/too much trouble (7%)
    • Want dog to have fun in the car (3%)
    • Want to be able to hold dog (3%)
  • An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at 50 mph will exert roughly 500 pounds of force, while an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert approximately 2400 pounds of force.
  • Use of a pet restraint is three times greater among people who have heard of situations where unrestrained dogs were injured or caused injury to other passengers in a car crash (32%), compared to respondents who are not aware of such a situation (9%).
  • Of the 16 percent who use a pet restraint, the AAA/Kurgo survey found the most frequently used are:
    • Pet harness/safety belt (56%)
    • Hard-sided pet travel crate (30%)
    • Pet vehicle seat (10%)
    • Vehicle pet barrier (8%)
    • Soft-sided pet travel crate (7%)
    • Other (5%)
  • Eighteen percent of respondents who drive with a dog in the vehicle also have children under the age of 13 who ride with them. Seven in 10 of these motorists have driven with a child and an unrestrained dog in the vehicle at the same time.
  • Three in 10 (29%) of respondents have heard stories of car crashes where unrestrained dogs riding in the car were injured or caused injury to people in the car. Of the respondents who have heard these stories, four in 10 (39%) said this impacted their decision about using a pet restraint.
  • Similar to a young child, the front airbag system in a vehicle can be deadly to a dog during a crash if sitting in the front seat, even if restrained.

Download PDF of Fact Sheet.

For more information about this survey, please contact Heather Hunter, Director of Public Relations at AAA here.




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