Does Eating While Driving Qualify as Distracted Driving?

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Most of us have done it. You’re in a rush to get from point A to point B, and in the hurry to get out of the house and into your vehicle, you didn’t have a chance to eat. So you pull into a drive-through somewhere along the way to your destination and order a burger. Then, ever mindful of the time, you eat while you’re driving. Surely this couldn’t be considered distracted driving?

It appears that yes, eating while driving could indeed be considered distracted driving. According to the New York Times, earlier last month a man in Atlanta, Georgia was given a traffic citation for eating while driving. Time reported that the officer who pulled the man over had observed him driving for two miles while eating a double quarter pounder with cheese .

And it’s not limited to just Georgia. Last year during a road safety campaign, Kentucky State Police troopers were told to watch not just for texting while driving but also eating while driving. In fact, many states list eating while driving as a cause of distraction on their driver education websites. The California Office of Traffic Safety, for example, in a list of don’ts while driving in order to eliminate distractions, includes “No eating or drinking while driving.”

Does it seem to be going overboard to include eating while driving as a distraction? Not according to the latest research. A University of Leeds study found that eating while driving resulted in a slower response time (44 percent slower than normal) than using a phone while driving (37.4 percent slower than normal). And back in 2009, the NY Daily News reported on a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study which found that 80 percent of car accidents and 65 percent of near misses were caused by drivers eating while driving. The biggest culprit? Coffee.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Los Angeles motor vehicle accident, Bradley I. Kramer and his experienced legal team are here to help you obtain the compensation to which you are entitled. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

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