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