According to the National Highway Safety Organization, approximately 80 percent of all car accidents are caused by distracted driving. This percentage resulted in 3,477 fatalities in 2015. Texting and talking on the phone while driving are well-known examples of distracted driving but there is another example that does not get nearly as much attention. Eating and drinking behind the wheel can cause just as much damage as other forms of distracted driving, but unlike other examples, it is generally accepted as a normal behavior.
Exxon-Mobile conducted a survey of 1,000 individuals to determine how many people eat while driving. According to the survey, 70 percent of drivers said that they ate food while driving and 80 percent admitted that they drank non-alcoholic beverages while driving. Most states now have laws that prohibit the use of smartphones for talking or texting while driving but there are no laws that ban eating and drinking while driving, with the exception of alcoholic beverages.
Skip the Drive-Thru
While you may be ticketed for talking or texting while driving, it is not likely that you will be stopped for having your morning coffee on your commute to work, or for eating a cheeseburger and French fries while you drive home from work. According to Kara Macek, Director of Communications for the Governors Highway Safety Association, police are more likely to focus on behaviors such as speeding, texting or talking while driving, or motorists who are driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Pulling people over for eating is simply not a priority, even though it can be just as dangerous.
No state has laws that prohibit eating while driving. Some states, including Washington and New Jersey, are pushing for legislation that would specify the different types of distracted driving to include food and non-alcoholic drinks. However, they have received a great deal of pushback from the general public.
From a legal perspective, eating while driving is difficult to prove in court since there is no test, comparable to a breathalyzer, that would confirm that a driver had been eating. Lisa Robinson, Senior Program Manager at the National Safety Council, said that driving can be dangerous, particularly when people are not paying attention to the road. Looking at your food for even a brief moment means that your attention is not on the road. This can have devastating consequences if the distraction causes a serious accident.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Justice for Victims of Distracted Driving
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident involving another driver who was eating while driving, contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We take this form of distracted driving very seriously and we will ensure that you receive the maximum financial compensation you deserve for the injuries you sustained. To arrange a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.