Distracted driving is becoming a leading cause of car accidents in New Haven, Connecticut and nationwide. While drivers may recognize handheld devices, cellphones, and iPods as a distraction, they may not consider the unforeseen dangers of driving with a lapdog. In addition to eating while driving, putting on make-up and using a cell phone, new evidence also suggests that motorists could be distracted by their pets, posing the risk of serious injury and fatal accidents.

In a recent accident, a woman crossed the median and lost control of her vehicle, plowing into a canopy of trees off the side of the highway. The accident resulted in her own death and injury to two other passengers on the road, including a 7-year-old girl. Authorities suspect that the 47-year-old woman was distracted by the Chihuahua sitting on her lap. The impact from the accident also killed the small dog.

After a fatal accident, authorities will perform an investigation to determine the cause of the accident. If possible, authorities will also assign liability and fault for the accident. In this case, officials and witnesses believe that the woman may have been distracted by her dog before the crash. Victims and families should also perform independent investigations to determine cause and identify responsible parties.

Motorists should be aware of any distractions and potential hazards on the road, including pets. Distracted driving can result in serious injuries, including fatalities for drivers and other passengers on the road. Victims and their families may be entitled to compensation after an accident caused by distracted driving.

Source: KIRO TV, “Dog on driver’s lap may be factor in crash that killed woman, pet,” Oct. 17, 2012