If you thought you only had to worry about texting teens distracted behind the wheel, you'd be wrong, at least according to a study done by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. It turns out that an elderly driver who always brings the lap dog along for the ride might also be a cause for concern.
"[A]n active, potentially moving animal, provides more opportunity for an older driver to respond to a driving situation in less than satisfactory way," quotes the Carrier Management story of the study's lead author. "Regulations in this area might be warranted, particularly if our findings are replicated by others."
So this appears to be the first study of its kind, suggesting that elderly drivers are at increased risk of a car crash if they always drive with their dog in the car with them. But the results will have to be repeatable in similar studies before researchers give these results much weight.
But it's enough, at least from the point of view of distracted driving, to add to what we already knew: Just like anything else - be it texting or talking on the cell phone - a dog in the vehicle could also be a major source of distraction.
It only takes a few moments of distraction to cause a car accident.