While much of the focus on preventing distracted driving is centered on cell phones, a driver who eats while driving can also be a menace on the roads. A motorist who eats while driving takes a hand off the steering wheel to hold the food, and eyes off the road to consume it. A University of Leeds researcher discovered, in a 2012 study, that driver reaction time slows by 44 percent when a driver is eating.
Many drivers may be surprised to learn that, because of the danger it creates, people can be ticketed for eating while driving. In addition, a driver who is consuming food and causes an accident can be sued if injured victims can prove the motorist was unreasonably careless.
Eating and Other Distracted Driving Dangers
Early in 2015, the New York Times reported on a driver in Georgia who was cited for eating a cheeseburger behind the wheel. The driver told the Times that the policeman who cited him repeated three times that he could not just drive and eat. This warning, and the ticket, came as a surprise to the motorist, who indicated an intent to fight the citation.
This driver was not the first to be cited for eating and driving. Although there is no specific law expressly prohibiting eating behind the wheel, drivers are ticketed based on statutes prohibiting driver distraction or general driver negligence. The driver whose ticket was written about in the New York Times, for example, was cited under a regulation stating: “A driver shall exercise due care in operating a motor vehicle on the highways of this state and shall not engage in any actions which shall distract such driver from the safe operation of such vehicle.”
Drivers in California have also been ticketed for eating and driving under a general statute prohibiting unsafe driving behaviors. LA Times reported on a crackdown several years ago when California Highway Patrol sent more officers out to ticket motorists for behaviors like eating or putting on makeup. According to the LA Times: “Under California’s vehicle code, a driver can be ticketed $145 to $1,000 for having ‘wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.'” This provision used to issue the citations is found in Vehicle Code Section 23103.
A Long Beach Distracted Driving Lawyer Can Help
Your Injuries are Personal to Me
When a driver is eating and a crash happens, victims of the collision can try to prove the motorist’s actions were unreasonable and his distraction led to the collision. If this is proved successfully, it can create legal liability for the driver.
The Law Office of Michael D. Waks provides representation in distracted driving accident cases. I have helped many clients successfully prove a driver should be held accountable for causing an accident due to distraction behind the wheel. I will fight for your right to full compensation after a distracted driving accident occurs. Call the Law Office of Michael D. Waks at 888-394-1174 or use the convenient online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
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