Safe Pet Travel

Why is Pet Safety Important?

Whether it is a quick run to the store or a cross-country trip, traveling with your pet can and should be fun. No matter how long or short the duration of your trip might be, it is important to keep safety in mind for you, your loved ones, including your pets.

Here are a few facts you should be aware of whenever you consider traveling with your pets, whether by yourself or with your loved ones. Below some statistics for the US market:

  • There are 43.3 million households with pets.
  • 84% of dog owners traveling with their dogs are not restraining them.
  • Only 16% of people who transport their dogs use proper safety restraints.
  • 60% of dog owners have driven while distracted by their pets as passengers.
  • 52% of dog owners have petted their dog while driving.
  • 17% percent of drivers allowed their dog to sit in their lap while driving.
  • 13% percent of drivers admitted to giving food or treats to their dog while driving.
  • 4% percent of drivers acknowledged playing with their dog while driving.

Traveling safely and responsibly with your pet is not just about reducing the risk of harm or fatal injury to your dog; it is about the safety of human occupants as well. You owe it to yourself, your passengers and your beloved pet to make everyone’s journey as safe as possible.

There are many reasons why traveling with an unrestrained pet is not recommended and in fact is considered dangerous.

  • An unrestrained dog can be a distraction while driving, increasing your risk of having an accident.
  • In the event of an accident, an unrestrained dog will impact whatever it hits with a force equivalent to several thousand pounds of energy.
  • In an accident, an unrestrained dog may be ejected or escape from the vehicle, resulting in the dog getting lost, injured or killed.
  • Once outside, the dog can become a hazard to other drivers and is at risk of being hit by another vehicle.
  • After an accident, an injured or frightened dog can pose a threat to emergency responders, preventing them from helping human occupants that may be in need of assistance.

Why Choose Crash Tested Pet Safety Products?

You look for crash safety information and certification whenever you purchase a car or a child seat. Why not for your pet? Containing your dog securely while traveling is just as important for the safety of everyone traveling in your vehicle.

It is always best to travel with your dog in a safe crate or harness whenever possible. In some states this is actually a law. If possible, traveling with a crash tested dog crate or crash tested safety harness is always best.

  • It is extremely dangerous to travel with a harness or dog crate that does not meet crash safety standards. This is especially true when it come to rear end collisions for 2nd row passengers and children in child safety seats positioned in the 2nd
  • Any products designed to restrain a pet during travel that are not crash tested may help avoid driver distraction, but they will not provide proper protection in an accident.
  • A dog crate that that is not crash tested can burst apart in a frontal impact, rear-end collision or rollover accident. Your dog can be ejected or escape or be harmed by protruding shrapnel from a failed plastic or metal crate.
  • Dog crates without a crumple zone can alter your vehicle’s crash safety features. Without crumple zone protection, everyone is at risk in a rear-end collision. This is true when the crate is in your vehicle even without your dog in it.
  • A properly engineered crash tested dog crate needs to absorb front, rear and rollover impacts while maintaining its integrity to keep the dog safely contained and avoid danger to human occupants in the vehicle.

Features to Look for in Crash Tested Pet Travel Products

  • Crash Tested – Select a crate or harness that has been crash tested using Government Automotive Safety Standards. It is important to confirm that the cage or harness was tested using established criteria and published safety standards designed for a variety of real world accidents. For example, when choosing a crate, make sure it has been tested for front, rear and roll over impacts.
  • Safety Escape Hatch – Look for a safety escape hatch located at the rear of the crate. In the event of a rear end collision, your cargo door may not open.  If this happens and you do not have an alternate exit, the crate will need to be cut apart to get your dog out. This can be very stressful and dangerous in a critical situation.
  • Crumple Zone Protection – In the event of a collision, a solid cage without a crumple zone will alter the safety engineering of your vehicle by eliminating your vehicle’s built-in crash protection. This is true even with an empty crate left in your vehicle. In addition, the impact from a rear-end collision applies tremendous force to the crate that can break or damage the rear seat, causing serious or fatal injury to rear seat occupants. Your dog may also be impacted by the sharp edges of a broken crate that has not been engineered to absorb this tremendous force and energy. Last but not least, your dog may escape or be ejected from the broken crate through a broken window resulting in the dog getting lost, injured or killed. Crumple zone protection is required for the safety of everyone on board.
  • Safety Record – Check with the manufacturer of any crash tested product and find out what Government Automotive Safety standards they meet. Look for products with a well-established track record of safety and a long history of proven results in real world accidents.
  • Experience – Ask them about their experience and history related to the manufacturing of crash tested safety products. Check to see if the manufacturer uses automotive safety engineers to design their products and find out if they make other crash tested products for the automotive industry.
  • Certifications – Request a copy of the manufacturer’s certifications, documentation and crash test videos to confirm their products meet the same strict guidelines required by the Automotive Industry required for vehicles and child car seats.
  • Installation – Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding assembly, installation and use of their crash tested products. Check to be sure that the manufacturer includes everything required for the proper installation and use of their products.
  • Proper Use – Only use pet safety products in the exact same manner as they were tested. Using a pet safety product in any way that varies from the manufacturer’s recommendations may seriously alter the safety of the product. This will expose you and your loved ones to serious or fatal injury in the event of an accident.
  • Customer Service – Do not hesitate to contact the manufacturer if you have questions or concerns. The manufacturer should be able to provide detailed information, documentation and answers to all of your questions and satisfy any questions or concerns you may have.

Crash Test Statistics

Overview

– According to a survey by the American Automobile Association, over 80% of dog owners’ drive with their pets in the car. There are 43.3 million households with pets, so that is an impressive number of people on the road with dogs in the car.  Only 16% of people who transport their dogs use proper safety restraints.

– According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 5,687,000 crashes in 2013, with 1,591,000 injuries and 32,719 fatalities. Of that, an estimated 172,000 children were injured in those traffic crashes. There is a good chance there were pets in these vehicles since 34.4 million American households drive with their pets. Over 80% of those pets were likely unrestrained, which means those pets were most likely injured, and at the very minimum, in shock.

– A full 51% of travelers with pets say they would bring their pets along on every vacation if they could, according to a recent AAA/Best Western survey.

– According to the National Safety Council, over 2.5 million rear-end collisions are reported every year, making them the most common type of automobile accident. This is where most pets should be contained, which is why it is important to use crash tested pet safety products.

General Statistics

  • According to the NHTSA, there were 5,687,000 crashes in 2013 with 1,591,000 injuries and 32,719 fatalities.
  • An estimated 172,000 children were injured in those traffic crashes.
  • According to the National Safety Council, over 2.5 million rear-end collisions are reported every year, making them the most common type of automobile accident.
  • NHTSA data show that 95% of single-vehicle rollovers are tripped. This happens when a vehicle leaves the roadway and slides sideways, digging its tires into soft soil or striking an object such as a curb or guardrail. The high tripping force applied to the tires in these situations can cause the vehicle to roll over.
  • Rollover accidents kill more than 10,000 people each year in the United States.
  • The rate of serious injury in passenger vehicle rollover crashes is 36 percent higher than in crashes where there is no rollover.
  • Sport utility vehicle fatalities account for 61% of all rollover fatalities.
  • Almost 500,000 people in the United States suffer the effects of a spinal cord injury and there are around 10,000 new cases each year.
  • 35% of spinal cord injuries are caused by automobile accidents, making car crashes the leading cause of spinal cord injuries.

Pet Travel Statistics - EUROPE

Risk of ending up in a severe rear end collision

According to statistics from SIKA (National Institute for Transport), the Swedish police reported a total of 18,213 accidents during 2006. (The Swedish population is 9 million.)

2,683 of these were rear-end collisions in which someone was slightly injured, seriously injured or killed, with a total of 4,824 people involved. Of these, 9 were killed and 406 seriously injured.

At least 1,359 of these collisions occurred on a road with a speed limit of 70 km/h or more. This type of accident is thus quite common and over half of them are on roads with relatively high speed limits.

The proportion of Swedish households with a dog is about 552,000 ± 45,000, according to SCB’s poll in 2006. Of these, nearly 1/3 or about 190,000 also have children.

If the use of dog crates increased to 25%, there will be nearly 50,000 families with children traveling in a vehicle fitted with a dog crate.

Comparing this with the 2006 statistic, the total number of cars in Sweden is about 4.15 million. You can see that the 50,000 family cars fitted with a crate represents approximately 1.2% of the total fleet.

With over 1,300 rear-end collisions a year on roads with speed limit 70 km/h or higher, there would be at least 15 potentially dangerous rear-end collisions annually involving families with children traveling with a dog crate.

Similar data from 2012 confirms this result; crate design will make a difference.

Pet Travel Statistics - USA

  • There are 43.3 million households with pets.
  • 84% of dog owners traveling with their dogs are not restraining them.
  • Only 16% of people who transport their dogs use proper safety restraints.
  • 60% of dog owners have driven while distracted by their pets as passengers.
  • 52% of dog owners have petted their dog while driving.
  • 17% percent of drivers allowed their dog to sit in their lap while driving.
  • 13% percent of drivers admitted to giving food or treats to their dog while driving.
  • 4% percent of drivers acknowledged playing with their dog while driving.

Traveling safely and responsibly with your pet is not just about reducing the risk of harm or fatal injury to your dog; it is about the safety of human occupants as well. You owe it to yourself, your passengers and your beloved pet to make everyone’s journey as safe as possible.

MIM Construction AB

In 1986, MIM Construction became a registered company, producing front bars, rollover bars and styling equipment for smaller trucks and normal station wagon’s. In 1989, MIM invested in a powder coating line, enabling it to handle all manufacturing processes in house.

In 1990, MIM Construction AB partnered with Kleinmetall in Germany. Together we succeeded in becoming an OEM supplier for Volkswagen. Through this work, we learned a great deal about car safety regulations and crash testing procedures.

MIM quickly became the world leader in safety products deigned to save the lives of both humans and pets. We have designed and produced safety nets for most European and Asian cars and attended a vast number of crash tests conducted by car manufacturers and certification organizations like the German TÜV and the Swedish SP.

In 1999, MIM Construction was certified according to ISO 9001 by Lloyds (LRQA), and in 2002, we increased the workshop up to 3,000 square meters.

In 2004, Mats Björnetun came up with a unique & innovative design that made the crate adjustable in length in order to accommodate the cargo areas in a variety of different vehicles. He also concluded that it should work together with an automobile’s deformation zone in order to save the lives of both pets and humans. This became the MIMSafe “Variocage”.

In 2005, Mats Björnetun became sole owner of MIM Construction AB. Then, in 2007, MIM invested in a new production facility in Trollhättan, Sweden. This added another 3,600 square meters of production space, including another powder painting line to increase our capacity.

In the line with our work within crash safety, Anders Flogård was hired in 2007 as a product designer and crash expert from Chalmers Technology University in Gothenburg, Sweden. Anders came to MIM with crash test development history from both Volvo Cars and Autoliv.
During his research work at Chalmers, Anders developed crash test dummies used in testing for whiplash damages in cars, and at the same time worked as an expert crash investigator for insurance companies.

Together Mats and Anders discussed the issue of dog crates with SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, and SP put together SPCT (Safe Pet Crate Test) based on automobile crash safety standards and requirements. To this day, this is the only documented test method for crates comparable to test requirements for cars.

With the additional knowledge from Anders Flogård, Mats and Anders finished the development of the second generation Variocage in 2008. Enhanced crash safety was built into this generation, and the crate was tested at in independent facility against the new SPCT requirements.  Since then, we have continued to work on safety solutions, seeking to update the safety of the crate in step with automobile safety improvements. In 2012, we released the MIM Safe Variocage Generation 3.

In 2014, Thomas Bergsten became CEO of MIM Construction AB. Today, MIM is the leader in crash tested safety nets for cars. We are designing, developing and producing safety nets in close cooperation with some of the largest car manufacturers in Europe. In addition, we also design and produce safety nets as accessories for different car dealers. With our extensive history and experience in automotive crash safety, MIM Construction AB has become the leading company when it comes to pet safety.

SOURCES & INFORMATION LINKS