Tests on pet harnesses in cars raises concerns

For those who are conscious of auto safety records, they probably know how their vehicle rated in the latest IIHS crash tests. They probably know how safe the vehicle is in side impact crashes, as well as head-on and rear impact collisions. Safety conscious consumers also may also know the benefits of front and side airbags.

With all the published crashworthiness reports, none have been focused on pet safety…until now.

Japanese automaker Subaru and the Center for Pet Safety recently conducted tests of safety harnesses for dogs. In the first tests of their kind, researchers found that automakers have some room for improvement when it comes to protecting animals in crash. They observed how the harnesses held dogs of different sizes, including a 45 pound collie, a 75 pound golden retriever and a 25 pound terrier.

Of the seven harnesses tested, only one garnered a “top performer” ranking. The other six exhibited considerable issues that could lead to potential harm, including the pet being thrown about the vehicle in a car crash (which could cause considerably more harm).

Despite the failures of the tested restraints, safety advocates see a bigger issue in that there are no federal standards for creating (or testing) pet restraint systems in vehicles. This is vastly different than the procedures in place for child restraint systems. For instance, a child’s car seat must perform in simulated impacts in order to receive a safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

It remains to be seen whether federal standards for pet restraints will be established.

Source: Wired.com, See what happens when your dog’s harness gets crash tested, October 8, 2013