Doggone it! ... Dogs need to be restrained in cars.
A DOG may be man's best friend but left to roam inside a car it could turn out to be your worst enemy in a crash.
A study by NRMA Insurance found only two of the 25 dog restraints tested passed a relatively low-speed crash test.
Drivers in NSW, for example, risk a $405 fine and three demerit points if caught with an animal on their lap.
In school zones the fine increases to $506 and four demerit points. Leading an animal with a vehicle is a $57 fine in NSW.
"Most people using the commonly available harnesses are doing so in a genuine attempt to keep their pets safe.
"(But) most harnesses, while effective at restraining pets, are not safety devices and do little to prevent injury in a common low speed crash."
NRMA Insurance used weighted dog 'dummies' to test harnesses in 35km/h and 20km/h impacts.
Even a low speed crash can have terrible results
But 23 of the 25 popular harnesses tested failed because of the weak plastic buckles, similar to those to clip backpacks.
Dog car harness test results - most readily available harnesses below.
Purnia 'Roadie'. Pass
Sleepypod 'Clickit'. Pass
Animates 'Car Safety Harness Fail
Black Dog 'Car Harness'. Fail
Masterpet '2 in 1 Car Harness' Fail
Rudducks 'Car Harness' Fail
Many popular harnesses were tested. The two harnesses that didn't fail were the Purina Roadie harness (which costs about $40) and the Sleepypod Clickit harness (which costs about $140) and also has ISOFIX attachment points, the same type used to restrain child seats in Europe and still pending final approval in Australia.
"An effective harness is critical when travelling with a pet as it keeps the animal safe and restrained and avoids the driver being distracted while driving with the animal moving around inside the vehicle," said Mr McDonald.
"In a collision, an unrestrained pet also has the potential to injure the other passengers in the vehicle."
Meanwhile, a survey of 450 NSW dog owners found that more than 40 per cent admitted they don't restrain their dog when it's travelling in the car.
Dog owners are simply placing them on the front or back seat (70 per cent), in the back luggage area (15 per cent) or on their lap (4 per cent).
All states have different laws regarding restraining your dog, please check with your local transport authority for what is legal in your state.
Don't wait for an accident to happen to you. Make sure you and your dog are safe and always restrain with an NRMA approved harness.
Watch the NRMA crash testing here.