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OPINION | DRIVETIME MAHATMA: Peril is real when a pet rides in lap

by Frank Fellone | January 16, 2021 at 9:02 a.m.

Dear Mahatma: In regard to a recent letter in your column, when I see people driving with pets in their laps I always wonder if they realize that in an accident the animal could be crushed between the steering wheel or deployed airbag and the driver or ejected through a window. I won't even bring up dogs bouncing around in beds of pickups. -- Big Fan

Dear Big: This topic -- pets in the laps of drivers -- has caused us to think deeply about Newton's first law of motion. In that law, he posits that a body in motion tends to stay in motion, unless acted upon by an external force. A small dog in a vehicle moving at 40 mph, without being securely fastened, would continue to move at 40 mph in the event of an accident which caused the car to come to a sudden and brutal stop.

An external force, as noted, could be a steering wheel, an airbag -- it's incredible how fast those things inflate -- or a dashboard. Or a windshield. Man, those things are hard.

As for dogs in truck beds, the American Humane Society estimates that 100,000 dogs die from riding in truck beds each year. It's cute to see a big ol' dog enjoying the breeze in the bed of a moving pickup. Up until he jumps out and gets run over.

Please, people, restrain, contain or crate a pet inside a vehicle. A restraint can easily be had for anywhere from $10 to $25.

Quoting one prominent politician: Come on, man. And another: It's very, very beautiful.

All Knowing One: Driving home the other night, I noticed that almost all of the interstate signs between the airport and downtown are unreadable. The reflective lettering seems to have worn out and there aren't any lights to illuminate the signs. Thank goodness I memorized the way home, otherwise I might have ended up in Texas (gasp!). Visitors to our fine city might not be so lucky. Is anything being done to improve the signage? -- Greg

Dear Greg: It would be fun to ask the Arkansas Department of Transportation how many signs it has. We suspect there aren't enough fingers and toes in Arkansas to count them.

Something actually is being done. We are putting this in the column, which is massively influential. Or something.

We also ask you to light a candle. That is, go to See the contact button on the upper right corner of the home page. Scroll down to Report a Problem. Then report the problem.


Used to be, our all-time favorite vanity license plate was TMPTRES -- that is, Temptress. We never met her, but wanted to. Please don't tell You Know Who.

Our new all-time favorite is PAMDMIC.

We kid you not. This is on a red Jeep, driven by a woman named Pam. Sources say she had a brush with covid-19 last year.

Bless her heart.


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