Should Driving While Eating Be Prohibited?

by tylercook on July 17, 2013

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Currently there is not a nationwide law that prohibits eating while driving. Anyone can drive and eat, but if an accident occurs then the driver can face negligence charges. There are a number of accidents every year that are the result of carelessness while driving. The question remains, should driving while eating be prohibited? Why should drivers be allowed to eat while they drive if they could potentially put someone at risk?

The Risks of Eating While Driving

When you eat and drive you have to pay attention to the food that goes into your mouth. Most people use one hand to eat and another to drive. This limits a person’s ability to maneuver, which increases the chances of an accident occurring. When food is dropped or there is a spill, a driver can become distracted and lose control of a vehicle. In order to avoid this, individuals should attempt to budget their time wisely so that they are not limited on the amount of time they have to eat. A quick snack or small meal only takes a few minutes to eat. A person should simply pull to the side of the road to eat or finish a meal if they feel hungry. The potential risk associated with eating while driving is a bigger concern than a person’s hunger or desire for food.

States Taking Initiative to Prevent Eating While Driving

Many states, including Ohio, are taking measures to prevent drivers from eating while driving. Fox News reports that this state is one of many in recent years that has attempted to prohibit drivers from eating while behind the wheel. As these laws go into effect, lawmakers pay close attention to the results. If a large amount of accidents decreases within a reasonable timeframe after a law is enforced then more counties and states may decide to pick up a particular law.

The results of these laws may prove that eating while driving may be as dangerous as texting while driving. In 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver. While there are few studies done on the dangers of consuming food and beverages while driving, it is a cause for negligent driving if the operator of the vehicle happens to be involved in an accident. Individuals should consider not eating in their vehicles while driving or only do so if their car is parked. When a person is on the road, it is important for him or her to pay full attention to their surroundings. One wrong maneuver could cause injury to someone or a group of people.

Individuals should be limited to the tasks they are performing while they operate their vehicles. They may be allowed to consume a beverage, as long as the beverage is easy to open and drink. Eating requires more motion and attention than drinking a bottle of water. However, it is necessary for the majority of the driver’s attention to be focused on the road than on extraneous activities.


Jerome Stanford is a freelance writer specializing in legal topics such as Personal Injury, Auto Accidents, Road Traffic Law, Cognitive Injuries, Criminal Defense and other issues as well.




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