Under Colorado law, it is illegal for adult drivers to send or receive text messages or e-mail on their cell phones while driving because of the danger distracted driving poses to other motorists.

And while kids up to age eight must be strapped into booster seats under the law, the 43 percent of Coloradans who own dogs are allowed to drive around with their furry pal roaming the seats of the car.

But according to a new survey conducted by AAA, pooches in cars do pose dangers. As many as 80 percent of dog-owning drivers admit they’ve been distracted by a canine passenger in their cars, writes Fox 31, another possible explanation for some of the estimated 6,000 distracted-driving deaths each year.

One key issue: Many dogs don’t seem to appreciate the gravity of what’s at stake when their owners are behind the wheel. As the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety notes, when a driver looks away from the road for a mere two seconds, it doubles the risk of a crash (via the Denver Business Journal).