Subaru of America Inc. announced a partnership with the Center for Pet Safety, a nonprofit research and advocacy group, to fund testing of vehicle safety restraints for pets.
Currently, there are no performance standards or test protocols in the U.S. for pet travel products. Although many manufacturers claim to test their products, without test standards these claims cannot be substantiated. Together, Subaru and the Center for Pet Safety will create standards for testing restraints and announce which ones perform best.
“The Center for Pet Safety conducted a pilot study which showed that the majority of pet safety restraints currently on the market do not provide acceptable protection in a crash situation,” said Michael McHale, Subaru's director of corporate communications. “As many of our owners have dogs, we feel it’s our responsibility to help them keep their pets as safe as possible when they journey with us.”
The Center for Pet Safety conducted rigorous crash testing on commonly available pet safety restraints using realistic, specially designed crash-test dogs, not live animals. A 55-pound crash dummy dog was used to see how the seat belts would hold up in a collision at 30 miles per hour, patterning the same motor vehicle safety standards used to test child seats. Of the four popular dog car harness brands, none held up in the tests. All of them demonstrated that they either could lead to plausibly serious or fatal injuries for not only the canine but driver, too.
“We are thrilled to have the support of Subaru as its love for pets is as deep as ours,” said Lindsey Wolko, the Center for Pet Safety’s founder and CEO. “We have received requests from all over the world from manufacturers who want guidance on developing a safer harness and, through this partnership, we can finally conduct additional testing to help develop a suitable standard, provide the needed knowledge base to manufacturers, as well as determine the top performers.”
The Center for Pet Safety is not affiliated with the pet product industry. The organization uses scientific testing and references Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards to study pet products and establish criteria and test protocols to measure whether pet safety products provide the protection claimed by advocates and intended by the manufacturer.