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The BBC's Richard Bilton
"Brin likes to travel in style"
 real 28k

Friday, 14 July, 2000, 13:34 GMT 14:34 UK
Pets told to belt up
Dog in front seat
Four-legged friends make good travelling companions
Pets should be fitted into seatbelt-like restraints when travelling in cars, a campaign has urged.

Research by the RAC Foundation and the Companion Care Veterinary Surgeries suggests four out of five injuries to pets travelling in cars could be avoided.

Grace the rabbit
The message is: belt up your pets

The organisations' campaign to ensure the safety of pets in vehicles was launched on Friday.

The groups are concerned about animal safety as the "passports for pets" scheme is encouraging more motorists to take creatures on longer journeys.

Motorists are being reminded that all pets should travel in the rear of a vehicle and should be restrained using a specially-designed harness which clips into a passenger seatbelt.

Properly restrained cages should be used for smaller animals such as cats.

Distraction

RAC Foundation executive director Edmund King said: "In a 30mph collision, an unrestrained dog can be thrown forward with the force equivalent to a small elephant.


An unrestrained dog can be thrown forward with the force equivalent to a small elephant

Edmund King, RAC Foundation
"The driver and the dog could be killed in such a collision. Most motorists now understand the importance of belting up their children in the back, but many forget about their four-legged friends."

A recent survey by the foundation showed nearly 90% of all motorists who regularly travel with their pets had been distracted by their animal when driving.

A further 11% had nearly crashed into the vehicle in front because of the distraction.

The foundation said motorists should also consider obtaining insurance for any damage or accident that their pets might cause.

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