Here's Why It Should Be Illegal to Have Pets on Your Lap While Driving

Ray By Ray, 26th May 2016 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2d7g0s34/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Politics

An article discussing New Hampshire's HB-241 bill of 2015.

Here's Why It Should Be Illegal to Have Pets on Your Lap While Driving

Every year, an average of 3,000 people are killed and more than 450,000 are injured in car accidents which involve at least one distracted driver. There are three central models of distracted driving: visual, when drivers take their eyes off the road; manual, when drivers take their hands off the wheel; and lastly, cognitive, when drivers takes their minds off what they’re doing. A very critical question to ask would be, what exactly happens when the three facets are merged together?

An issue that’s been raised by Rep. Richardson (R-NH) in January of last year at the New Hampshire House of Representatives is the presence of companion animals in drivers’ laps. A bill was introduced under supervision of the transportation committee. In February of 2015, a dog was euthanized in Milton, NH after evidently undergoing a car crash, this had me thinking about the reasoning on why drivers risk their pets’ lives by not buckling them up in their appropriate seats. According to a survey collected by the American Automobile Association and Kurgo, more than 43 million dogs have been on car rides, in the past; 36 million of which were not seat-belted, this is only counting pet dogs, bearing in mind that cats are commonly owned too, and so are other animals.

Pets aren't as conscious as an average human being; their actions can be highly unpredictable and sudden. Furthermore, these sudden actions might have negative impact on drivers in terms of control; when these occur, drivers would naturally take their eyes off the road and possibly even reach out to the animal. This leads drivers to be less attentive on the ride and more focused on what the animal is trying to do. Since loose pets classify under the division of distracted driving, it’s easily perceived and understood that the issue presents as dangerous epidemic on human life and jeopardizes the parts of roads used by vehicles and conceivably any paved path for pedestrians on the side of the road.

Another thing is, it is known that the ejection of airbag exerts a large force on passengers; every airbag deployment is considered a violent “contained explosion” that fills with nitrogen gas when expanded and is potentially extremely harmful to bodies that are considered relatively small. If airbags can crack children’s necks, or even worse, kill them, then the German Shepherd, America’s second most common dog, with an average weight of 66 lbs, can conceivably be under extensive risk and potential death if left unprotected in vehicles.

As revealed earlier, animals are unpredictable species that aren’t always well-conducted. This denotes that when animals are left unbuckled in cars, the chances of them dashing out of a window or a door increases, hence animals aren’t usually exhibited to the risks and consequences of bounding off of a moving vehicle.

Considering the average speed limit in the United States is 70 mph, any pet darting off of a window would have a pretty high chance of serious injury or death. Incidentally, pets also face a risk of death in car crashes. In fact, accidents that seem less likely to be risky can push dogs through windshields. Even cars that crash while going at a speed of 20 mph can still propel dogs harmfully.

In order for safety and security to be guaranteed, state governments must take prompt action towards such contentious issue; a bill must be passed in order to classify loose pets in vehicles, whether they’re on drivers’ laps or not, under the categorization of distracted driving.

The previously proposed bill in NH House, HB-241, which is ought to be passed, prohibits drivers from having pets on their laps while they’re operating a motor vehicle. The bill is a peremptory that resembles the government’s imperative job of protecting people from others and from their very own selves.

The disagreements on this standpoint vary, and truthfully, a large proportion of the general public has an opinionated expression of disapproval on this angle. I personally attempted contacting New Hampshire’s 400 representatives through email and ended up getting various attitudes towards the issue. Most of the representatives were not supportive of this bill. So, to say the least, we should be looking at the other side of the coin as well.

According to Representative Joshua Whitehouse (R-NH) of Starfford, who has endorsed Donald Trump for the 2016 presidential race, the proposed bill is unnecessary and is a solution seeking “a problem that doesn’t exist.” Actually, this allegation seems far from the truth; after conducting a local survey with a diverse group of dozens, I have found that an approximate percentage of 80% of people in Mr. Whitehouse's own state have seen dogs on various drivers’ laps at least once.

Representative Daniel Itse of Rockingham (R-NH) stated that the law is irrelevant because it is an intrusion into individual space, claiming that drivers can be charged after an accident occurs if pets were found to be the cause. This standpoint lacks concern in human life, animal life and less significantly, property loss. If people must be left to learn from their own mistakes at all costs, then the government might as well repeal murder laws and expect individuals to acquire responsibility and maturity by turning the society into a giant massacre.

“The government is not our nanny.” responded Rep. Glen Aldrich (R-NH). But truthfully, if we look at a nanny’s job, “the main role of a nanny is to provide a safe, caring, nurturing and stimulating environment in which the children thrive and develop.”, according to Nanny Connections. It is decisive that any government must provide the aforementioned for today’s functioning civilized society.

The laws on distracted driving are indeed effective. Taking California for example, according to Senator Joe Simitian (D-CA), the California Office of Traffic Safety organized a study which showed that the laws enacted on hand-held cellphones by drivers have taken eminent effect and proved that number of distracted driving accidents dropped dramatically there.

Drivers potentially have several forms of alternatives that can keep their pets secure at all times. The most important one is the seat-belt method; seat belts come in different sizes that suit different pets and various needs. Other alternatives, which are relatively common, are crates and cages: unlike frequent belief, cages and crates provide more freedom to animals than seat belts, as an animal can move within the cage and sleep in a comfortable position.

It is true. Unrestrained pets in motor vehicles pose as viable threat to human life; their presence on people’s laps is considered utterly distracting. Without a specified law, the issue will always stand in the way of people's safety on roadways.

Tags

Driving, Lap, Law, New Hampshire, Pets, Politics

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1st Jun 2016 (#)

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