Distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of motor vehicle collisions. There are a number of different behaviors that are considered to cause distraction behind the wheel. One of the top behaviors that has been identified as being dangerous is eating while driving.
Many motorists are not aware of the risks associated with consuming food or drinks as they drive, and most believe that this common behavior is acceptable. The reality, however, is that food presents a major distraction and the crash risk rises significantly if drivers are paying attention to eating or drinking instead of focusing on the road.
Drivers who make careless or negligent decisions while driving can be held responsible for their actions. Crash victims who wish to pursue a claim against a motorist who caused a crash by eating and driving should consult a Janesville auto accident lawyer. It is up to the victims to show that the motorist was unreasonably careless, and your attorney can help you put together a strong case.
Eating and Driving Increases Collision Risks
The New York Daily News reports that a survey of 1,000 drivers found the vast majority eat and drink while behind the wheel. A total of 83 percent of the motorists responding to the survey said they drink beverages and 70 percent said that they eat food as they drive their cars.
Motorists were asked about the most dangerous kinds of food to eat while driving and they listed:
- Hot coffee
- Chicken wings
- Jelly donuts
One motorist recently found himself receiving a citation for eating one of these high risk foods. According to the New York Times, a driver was going down the street in Atlanta when he was pulled over by a law enforcement officer.
The officer told him he could not just eat his burger as he drove down the road, and the officer gave him a ticket. The driver intends to contest the ticket because he does not believe he was in violation of state laws.
The motorist may be right that there are generally no laws explicitly prohibiting eating and driving. Making this behavior illegal would be difficult to enforce and may be met with resistance given the high number of people who tend to eat while operating a vehicle. However, the reality is that eating and driving is a factor in many of the motor vehicle accidents that occur in the United States.
As the New York Daily News reports, in around 80 percent of motor vehicle accidents in the U.S., a driver was eating at the time of the collision. Drivers were also eating in around 65 percent of near-miss incidents where vehicles almost collide.
While food may not be the only factor in causing all of these accidents, it may play a role in causing the crash because the drivers may not have been able to react to avoid the collision since their attention was focused on the food.
If a driver is eating and behaving unsafely as a result, he or she needs to be held accountable for losses caused to others. An auto accident lawyer in Janesville can help crash victims pursue a claim for compensation.