Honda Insight and dog

Americans love their dogs, but can our furry friends lead to distracted driving? A report in Consumer Reports says yes, as a study from AAA and Kurgo shows that 52 percent of dog owners pet their dog when they're in the car with them. Further, 19 percent use their hands to prevent the dog from hopping up to the front seat, and 18 percent reach into the back seat to pet their dog. These statistics, which come from a sampling of 1,000 dog owners, show that a pet can be every bit as distracting as a cell phone or a fast food meal a-la-car.

Beyond distractions like letting the dog sit on the driver's lap while driving, the pet can also be a danger in the event of an accident. The study shows that 83 percent of drivers feel that leaving a pet unrestrained is dangerous, but only 16 percent actually restrain their animal. This can be a big problem in the event of an accident, as statistics show that an unrestrained 80-pound dog involved in a 30-mile-per-hour accident will exert 2,400 pounds of pressure upon impact. In other words, if the dog hits you in a 30-mph accident, he or she could do more harm than the vehicle collision itself.