Texting and cell phone talking has been at the forefront of debate concerning distracted driving for years. But what about the people who aren’t fixated on their phone while driving distracted? What about those who choose to dine on the roadways?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that eating and driving is actually more dangerous than using a hand held cell phone while driving. “Distractions like eating can become a problem for drivers who cannot reach quickly to a sharp curve”. According to a study done by NHTSA, those who distract themselves with things such as eating and driving at the same time increases their odds of a vehicular collision by 80%. The study concludes that more than half of near accidents are caused by drivers distracted with things such as food.
In addition to burgers, the study has ranked the worst foods to eat behind the wheel based on a survey of drivers. Coffee is the worst, bringing new meaning to the adage “don’t drink and drive”. The study puts the other culprits in this order: soup, tacos, chili dogs, hamburgers, ribs and wings, fried chicken, jelly doughnuts, soda and chocolate. On-the-go New Yorkers contend you can drive and eat, and they won’t stop multitasking.
In a different study of 1000 drivers by ExxonMobil Corp, it was discovered that over 70% of drivers eat while driving – and 83% drink beverages. While eating, a driver’s reaction speed is lowered by 44%. While drinking, it drops 22%. While drinking, a driver is 18% more likely to experience bas control over the lane.
It has become such a problem, that several law enforcement agencies have made it their cause. For example, Kentucky State Police, as part of Operation RAID, were recently on the lookout for people who eat and drive. This included checkpoints targeting such distracted drivers, even though eating while driving is not currently banned in Kentucky. Some U.S. cities have already banned eating while driving. Drivers in Huron, South Dakota are fined $100 for eating and drinking beverages behind the wheel.
More food related accidents occur in the morning hours due to people eating breakfast on their way to work, and being concerned about the appearance when they show up for work. If a driver operates a stick shift, their odds of having a food related accident can double since eating, shifting, and steering requires increased dexterity. The most hazardous situation combines eating and cellular phone use. When the phone rings, the “driving distraction” increases and in a rush to answer, drivers forget they’re driving.
By refusing to sip coffee or nosh on snacks behind the wheel and instead having meals before or after the trip, you can drastically increase everyone’s safety on the roads. If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver, let one of the aggressive attorneys at Dolman Law Group fight on your behalf for the compensation you deserve. Give us a call for a no obligation, no cost consultation: 727-451-6900.
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