Just How Dangerous Is Eating While Driving?

Oftentimes pinpointing liability in your car accident case is relatively simple. For example, you may look up immediately after the collision occurs and see that the driver that hit you has their cellphone in their hands, or it is subsequently proven that the driver was drunk at the time of the collision. Yet there may also be cases where establishing fault is not to cut-and-dry. You may need to dig deeper in order to show exactly how the driver that caused your accident was negligent in the operation of their vehicle. In one particular instance, there may be subtle cues to help determine this.

Those cues may include open food or drink containers strewn about their vehicles or fresh food stains on their clothing. Both indicate that the driver was likely eating or drinking while behind the wheel. At first glance, this may not seem to be negligent (as many likely also engage in such activity). Yet a closer examination of the actions that go into eating while driving reveals just how distracting it can actually be.

Information shared through a joint effort between the Auto Alliance and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons that eating while driving forces people to engage in the following types of distractions:

  • Manual
  • Visual
  • Cognitive

In the context of eating behind the wheel, the manual distraction is having to grasp the food or beverage being consumed. The visual and cognitive distractions occur when the driver is forced to divert both their vision and attention away from the road to focus on eating. The cumulative effect of these actions can be just as distracted as texting or talking on the phone while driving, and the prevalence of its occurrence may make it an even more likely cause of a collision.

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