Is Eating and Driving Considered Negligent?

Experienced Accident Attorney Serving Victims of Negligent Drivers throughout the Indianapolis Area

There is a common misconception that distracted driving is mostly talking or texting on the phone. In reality, distracted driving comes in many forms. One that just about every driver is guilty of doing is eating while driving.

Most of the studies about distracted driving focus on texting, but if you read further, you will notice that eating and driving is listed as well. However, many assume that eating and driving is not reckless; after all, why would there be drive-through restaurants if eating and driving were so dangerous?

While there are currently no laws – and may never be – that prohibit eating and driving, the act itself and causing an accident is still considered negligent.

Eating is a Distraction, and Distracted Driving is Negligent

If people choose to eat and drive, but they are distracted, they are choosing to ignore their duty to drive safely on the road. All drivers have a duty of care owed to other drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians. They must obey the rules of the road and drive as safely as possible. If they know they are doing something that could cause harm to another person, they must stop that behavior.

Therefore, someone who is eating is openly disobeying this duty. After all, a safe driver is one with eyes on the road, mind focused, and both hands on the driving wheel. When a driver eats, the following happens:

  • One or both hands are removed from the wheel.
  • The driver’s eyes focus on the food – even more so if that food spills.
  • The driver’s mind is focused on eating; not the road.

A spilling beverage is even more dangerous because it is incredibly distracting for the driver.

Statistics to Consider

Per DecidetoDrive.org, there are startling statistics about eating and driving, including:

  • Drivers who are drinking or eating while driving are 3.6 times more likely to be in an accident, according to a 2014 study by Lytx.
  • Exxon Mobil found that 1,000 drivers studied had 70 percent who admitted to eating and driving, while 83 percent drank a beverage while driving.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that eating and driving increases the risk of an accident by 80 percent. Also, 65 percent of near-miss accidents were caused by someone eating and driving.

Eating and Driving Accidents Are Preventable

Eating and driving are very dangerous, and it puts all drivers and passengers on the road at risk for an accident. NHTSA lists it as one of the top dangerous types of issues facing the distracted driving problem in the country. Some foods that NHTSA specifically lists as hazardous include cream-filled and powdered donuts, fried chicken, BBQ food, hamburgers, soups, chili, tacos, coffee, jelly donuts, soft drinks, and chocolate.

Injured by a Distracted Driver? You Have Options

If a distracted driver injured you, whether due to eating or not, you have the right to collect compensation for those injuries under the law. Explore your options by speaking with an accident attorney from Jacobs Law, LLC today. You can call our offices or fill out our online request form.

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