Government officials and other attendees at this month's summit on distracted driving spent much of their time focused on the use of electronic devices behind the wheel.
However, a surprisingly large portion of the public appears to willing to engage in other equally dangerous forms of distracted driving - such as letting their pets sit on their laps while behind the wheel. This careless activity can lead to injuries and higher auto insurance rates brought on by causing an accident.
According to a recent survey from AAA and Kurgo, a company specializing in pet travel products, about 20 percent of motorists acknowledged that they have allowed their pet to sit in their lap while driving.
Just under one-third of these motorists admitted that they had been distracted while driving with their dog, and 59 percent of those driving with pets in their lap said they had done things like feeding or playing with them while operating a vehicle.
"Restraining your pet when driving can not only help protect your pet, but you and other passengers in your vehicle as well," said Lloyd Albert, a senior vice president with AAA Southern New England. "An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at 50 mph will exert roughly 500 pounds of pressure, while an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert 2,400 pounds of pressure."