A study released by AAA finds that driving with a dog in a vehicle is a dangerous distraction that could be as lethal as texting or listening to loud music while behind the wheel.
About two-thirds of dog owners say they routinely drive while petting or playing with their animals -- sometimes even feeding them -- the report found.
Moreover, the study said that pets can endanger drivers during a crash -- becoming flying objects if they are not strapped securely like human passengers.
The study said, for example, that a 10-pound dog in a car driving 50 miles per hour could exert 500 pounds of pressure in a crash, MyFoxTwinCities.com reported.
Safety experts recommend strapping dogs in place with a restraint that can be bought at many pet stores.