Costly mistake dog owners could make when jumping in the car
DOGS are man's best friend, but there are significant dangers when transporting them in cars.
A new survey by Ford has found that one third of dog owners don't secure their pets in the car, which can have serious consequences.
In the case of an accident an unsecured pet can become a wrecking ball. If a crash occurs at 40km/h an airborne pet can develop impact forces up to 40 times its weight. Which means not only is your pets life put at risk but so is yours.
Having an unsecured pet can also hit your hip pocket. You can face fines of over $5000 and up to six months in jail under the prevention of cruelty to animals provision if your pet is injured or hurts someone else during an accident. The RSPCA says more than 5000 animals are killed in crashes in Australia each year.
Owners don't necessarily have to secure their pets in a vehicle but it is recommended.
Loose pets could be deemed a distraction that would result in the driver not being in full control of the vehicle. In NSW this would lead to a $448 fine and the loss of three demerit points rising to $561/four demerits points in school zones.
Drivers must not at any time have a pet in their lap, doing so will result in the same penalty as not being in full control of a vehicle. In South Australia owners will be hit with a $175 fine and Queensland motorists will face a fine close to $300.
Ute drivers should also be aware that dogs must be securely tethered or caged if riding in the tray. Owners in South Australia face fines of $750 while Queensland drivers will be hit with a fine of about $250.
Drivers could also be stung with big fines and loss of points if a pet restricts their vision either out of the front, side or rear of the vehicle.
Ford may have the answer to your pet transport needs.
To make life easier to transport pets the designer of the new Ford Focus wagon, Rene Berns, conscripted the help of his pooch Emil to design the cargo area with dogs in mind.
Berns made sure that even the largest dog transport cages could fit into the boot of the Focus wagon, claiming that even an Irish Wolfhound - the world's tallest dog could be carried.
"I know how much it means to me to be able to take Emil with me wherever I am going, and I'm proud that he has helped make that easier for other dog owners and their pets to travel safely and in comfort," says Berns.
The new Ford Focus has recently launched in Australia and will compete against popular rivals such as the Toyota Corolla and Mazda3. It is one of the only small cars to be sold in wagon form.