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Distracted Driving: Eating and Drinking Behind the Wheel

Brian DebelleBrian Debelle

Distracted driving can take on many forms: texting, phone calls, applying makeup, talking to someone else in the car, changing music, or even daydreaming. Although not exclusively prohibited by law in any state, eating while driving is another serious, yet regular distraction that many people fail to consider when thinking of distracted driving. Whether you are running late to work or trying to save time while sitting through traffic, we are all guilty of eating behind the wheel at some point, but just how of a problem bad is it?

Eating and Driving Statistics

Is it illegal?

As mentioned above, eating and drinking while driving is not strictly prohibited by law. However, the way in which most distracted driving laws are worded leaves room for interpretation, opening the door to some instances where this legal idea has been challenged. In January of last year, a man in Georgia was pulled over and ticketed for eating a cheeseburger behind the wheel, charges that were later dropped. In January of this year, a woman in the UK was fined £145 and three points on her license for eating a banana while stuck in a traffic jam. And just a few months ago, New Jersey introduced a bill that would punish drivers who eat or drink while driving.

While not explicitly illegal, eating while driving does represent a gray area of the law. Any personal injury lawyer will tell you that if a distraction by food or drink leads to an accident, you will almost certainly be considered negligent, even if it is not considered illegal. And as the statistics show, eating while driving can be just as dangerous as other more common distractions behind the wheel. But a law specifically prohibiting eating and drinking behind the wheel could set a dangerous legal precedent. Would you not be able to take a sip of water or enjoy a light snack while on a long drive or sitting in stop-and-go traffic on your way home after a long day at work? Clearly these topics need to be explored, not only for the safety of drivers everywhere, but also to determine what simple liberties drivers are afforded when on the road.

What do you think? Should eating or drinking while driving be considered illegal, or at least have some form of restrictions imposed over certain food and beverage items?

Comments 1
  • Texas Driving Safety Course
    Posted on

    Texas Driving Safety Course Texas Driving Safety Course

    Reply Author

    Eating and driving is one among the major reasons of accidents. Close calls are about 20 to 30% more than actual accidents happen. Many drivers experience close calls while changing the radio, shaving, reading Journal.

    Drive safely and Eat Safely.


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