What went wrong? Buckling up a pet follows the same logic as buckling up a child; however, perhaps it is because this is not legally required in some states that not all owners do this.
Someday, all states may have a law for buckling up pets. New Jersey does; it falls under 'improperly transporting an animal' and carries a $250 to $1000 fine. Hawaii has had a law for quite a while for having an unrestrained pet in the car; fine vary depending on if a dog in on the driver's lap or loose in the car.
Other states, such as Arizona, Connecticut and Maine have distracted-driving laws which can be enforced in regard to pets.
Another factor may be owners not realizing just how terribly dangerous this is, what type of injuries can occur or that even a slow-moving crash can be fatal to a toy sized dog. And there is always the issue of owners believing that they can keep their dog safe on their lap or in their arm. But it is just not possible in most cases.
What effect can this have? According to the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are over 5 million car accidents, per DAY, in the U.S.
Think it only happens to bad drivers? It can happen no matter what. You have no control over other drivers or how your own car may malfunction or operate due to road or weather conditions. The average person will be in 3 car accidents and most accidents occur within 15 miles from home.
Without being properly restrained, in a vehicle that is traveling at 35 mph, a Yorkshire Terrier that weighs 5 pounds (2.26 kg) will be thrown with the force of a 225 pound object (102 kg) object. This can cause severe bodily injury including broken bones, fractured neck, severe internal injury to vital organs, brain damage and death.
Exactly what to do:
If you already have a certified canine car seat, make a pledge to use it every time your Yorkie is in the car with you. If you do not have one, make a pledge to obtain one.
Do be careful of used seats; they may have been recalled, may no longer be under warranty, or may have broken parts which make them unsafe.
Little Yorkies do best with booster seats. This allows them line-of-sight out of the windows and keeps them close to partially opened windows, which can cut down on motion sickness. These are also great because they can hold treats and toys, which can be useful on long drives.