It is easy for people to agree that texting and driving is a hazardous combination. Additionally, activities that take the eyes or attention from the road such as personal grooming, reading an email or having a conversation can also lead to devastating vehicle collisions. There is one activity, though, that is so common that people often overlook it as a distraction until disaster happens: dining and driving.
Drivers have become so accustomed to keeping a bottle of water in the cup-holder or a snack for the commute resting in the passenger seat next to them that they are legitimately unaware of the danger they have created. Reaching across the center console to select from a bag of chips or removing your hands from the steering wheel to wrestle with the lid of your coffee travel mug both represent manual distractions. Add to that the visual distraction of looking at your food or tracking a spill to clean it up and navigating heavy traffic can become an impossibility.
In fact, two studies were specifically designed to investigate the effect that eating or drinking while behind the wheel might have on driver safety:
- The Lytx Study: Lytx, a global leader in video-based driver safety technology, released data that showed a driver who is eating or drinking while the vehicle is in operation is 3.6 times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle collision when compared to drivers who were not engaging in the same activity. By comparison, Lytx found that drivers distracted by a smartphone or computer tablet were 4.7 times more likely to be involved in a crash than undistracted drivers.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Study: The NHTSA classified eating and drinking as “secondary task distractions.” Even though this might make it sound as if this activity is minor in comparison, the administration found that dining while driving increased the likelihood of a collision or near-miss by nearly 39%.
Drivers get used to having their morning coffee on the way to work or eating drive-thru dinner after a long shift at the office. Unfortunately, these activities can lead to catastrophic collisions. If you were injured in a wreck caused by a negligent or inattentive driver, do not hesitate to seek legal guidance regarding possible monetary compensation.