Distracted Driving and Eating By Greg Burton on February 03, 2020

Driver eating a burgerIn recent years, a lot of attention has been brought to the dangers of distracted driving. Distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents across the country. While most people associate distracted driving with texting, it really pertains to any activity that takes a person’s eyes, hands, or mind off the task of driving. This includes a habit that many people practice on a fairly regular basis: eating while driving.

Distracted driving involving eating increases the risk of a car accident. Victims who have been injured in a car accident caused by eating and driving in the Longview, TX, area can work with car accident attorney Randy Akin to seek compensation for accident damages.

Why Is Eating and Driving So Dangerous?

Eating and driving are two tasks that most people perform on a regular basis. Because these practices are so common, many people don’t think twice about combining them. It is a common misconception that eating is a mindless task that won’t interfere with a person’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. Unfortunately, that is far from the truth.

Eating while driving can combine all three of the types of distractions that are known to impair a person’s driving abilities: visual distractions, cognitive distractions, and manual distractions.

  • Visual distractions: It is nearly impossible for a person to eat a meal while driving without taking their eyes off the road, even briefly. It only takes roughly five seconds for a car traveling at 55 mph to cover the distance of a football field, so looking down just to take a single bite of food can be very dangerous.
  • Cognitive distractions: It may be true that most people don’t put a lot of thought into normal eating. However, when driving, most people pay a lot more attention. It is common to be concerned about issues such as potential spills and what to do with empty food containers. Any distraction that takes focus away from driving increases the risk of an accident.
  • Manual distractions: The manual distractions of eating while driving are probably the most obvious. It takes at least one hand to hold food. Besides that, there may be napkins, condiments, or trash to handle. With one or both hands off the wheel for even a brief amount of time, the dangers of driving multiply.

The Scary Facts About Eating and Driving

There are statistics that clearly highlight the risks of eating and driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, evaluated accident statistics and driving practices when tackling their Driver Distraction Program. In a report summarizing their program, they evaluated the increased risk of car accidents associated with various forms of distracted driving.

One significant finding was based on a 100-car survey conducted by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. This survey found that the odds of an accident or near-miss accident were 1.57 times greater for those who were eating while driving.

Know Your Rights

Any form of distracted driving can be classified as reckless. Individuals who have been injured in a car accident caused by another person’s reckless or negligent actions have the right to seek compensation for accident damages. Our Longview clients may be due compensation for losses such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Learn More

If you have been injured in an accident and would like to learn more about your legal rights, send us a message at your earliest convenience or call our Longview legal practice at (903) 297-8929. Attorney Randy Akin would be happy to offer you legal advice based on the details of your situation.

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