Drunk driving, drowsy driving, texting and driving all receive a fair amount of attention from media campaigns across the country and here in Florida, and they should. These activities are dangerous and lead to a fair amount of motor vehicle accidents. However, eating and/or drinking while driving does not receive the amount of attention it deserves. This dangerous activity causes its share of crashes each year as well.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the risk of causing a crash due to eating or drinking while behind the wheel goes up as high as 80%. Another source indicates that that the threat of a collision goes up 3.6 times. Sources may not agree on the severity of the risk, but what they do agree upon is that it is an increased risk.
Staving off hunger and thirst are biological needs that every human has, and no one disputes the need to eat and drink throughout the day. However, doing so while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle is ill-advised. Hot coffee, chili, burgers, donuts and even chocolate are on a short list of foods that pose the highest risk, but the fact that any beverage or food takes a driver’s attention, hands and eyes off the road. Consumption is not the only source of danger. Foods and drinks can spill, cause a significant mess and require attention such as unwrapping, adding condiments and more, all of which make driving the secondary activity in the vehicle.
Florida residents who encounter another driver distracted by food or drink could end up suffering serious injuries as a result. When this happens, the monetary losses could add up quickly. Filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim, as applicable, could provide a way to seek restitution for the financial impact of motor vehicle accidents.