It may not considered a significant source of traffic accidents, but eating while driving is a bad combination, comparable to texting and driving and even drinking and driving. A recent study attempted to evaluate the relationship between eating and driving, and found that “a staggering 80% of all car accidents and 65% of near misses are caused by distracted drivers more focused on their burgers than the road.” Distractions like eating can become a problem for drivers who can’t react quickly to a sharp curve according to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The same study noted that eating food is not the only contributing factor to traffic accidents, but that “in addition to burgers, the study has ranked the worst foods to eat behind the wheel based on a survey of drivers [where] coffee is the worst, bringing new meaning to the adage ‘don’t drink and drive’” and that “even with a travel lid, hot coffee can find its way out of the opening when you hit a bump.” The study puts the other culprits in this order:
- Chili dogs
- Ribs and wings
- Fried chicken
- Jelly doughnuts
Another study highlights the increased and significant risk of injury that comes when drivers eat and drive. According to the study, “experts say eating while driving can increase a motorist’s chances of a car accident by 80%.” Part of the study involves evaluating various data from Distracted Driving Awareness Programs, where over 10,000 enforcement contacts were made and over 240 citations were issued for an unsafe speed related to distracted driving while eating.
Many states are implementing distraction driving laws to cut down on activities such as eating, drinking, and texting while driving. Such laws not only provide law enforcement with the ability to stop and issue citations for distracted driving, but also lead to drivers being issued fines, penalties, and in many circumstances, license suspensions. In many cases, drivers are cited for distracted driving, especially where their conduct results in a car accident leading to personal injury or even death. The driver may be held civilly liable where such distracted offenses are by themselves deemed as negligent.
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If you or someone you know has suffered a car accident as a result of a distracted driver eating or drinking while at the wheel, you need attorneys with experience in such personal injury matters. Colombo Law is highly experienced in such matters and can evaluate your potential legal claims on your behalf.