When we think of distracted drivers, we typically think of people on their phones, but what about kids or pets?

According to the new PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll, 43 percent of Washington drivers say pets are more distracting than children.


It may have to do with the fact that 52 percent of Northwest drivers say they don't restrain or buckle-up their pets in the car.

"There's no question we love our pets here in the Northwest. That's why we were surprised to learn that so many Northwest drivers put themselves and their four-legged friends at risk by driving with unrestrained pets in the car," says PEMCO spokesperson Derek Wing.

Mix that with things like barking, licking, and moving around then it may be easy to see why only a third, or 34 percent, of drivers said rambunctious kids were the greater distraction.

Plus, those pet behaviors can also pose a serious risk for you, your furry friend, passengers, and other drivers on the road.

"In a 30-mile-per-hour crash, a 60-pound dog can slam into you with 2,700 pounds of force – enough to cause severe damage to you and your precious pet. So just like humans, pets need their own special seat belts and other protections to keep everyone as safe as possible on the road," Wing added.

Here are some tips for keeping you and your pet safe:

  • Restrain your pet with a ventilated carrier or a dog safety harness that attaches to a rear seat belt.
  • Remember: The backseat is the best seat.
  • Pets in pickup beds is a big no.
  • Don't let your furry friend stick their head out of the window. We know, it's a dog's life but have you ever thought about flying debris? PEMCO says even insects can hurt a dog's eyes.

To view the full poll, click here.