When drivers in Louisiana think about the most common forms of distracted driving, they may forget about eating and drinking, yet this can be just as dangerous as using one’s phone. The telematics company Lytx conducted a study about this back in 2014 and said that eating and drinking behind the wheel raises the risk for a crash 3.6 times.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, looking at the “secondary task distraction” of eating and drinking from an open container, says that this makes a crash or near-crash 39% more likely. If drivers cannot wait until they reach their destination in order to eat, then they should only eat after safely pulling over to the side of the road.
The fact is that eating and drinking constitute a cognitive, visual and manual distraction, sometimes all at the same time. Cognitive distractions take the driver’s mind from the road, visual ones take the driver’s eyes off the road and manual ones take the hands off the steering wheel.
Some foods will be more dangerous to consume than others because drivers may, for example, need napkins or have to unwrap the packaging. NHTSA has a list of 10 high-risk foods and drinks for drivers, and it includes tacos, hamburgers, barbecued foods, chocolate, soup and coffee.
Distractions come in many different shapes and sizes, but they could all form the basis for a personal injury case if a distracted driver causes a motor vehicle accident. Crash victims who believe they have grounds for such a case may want a lawyer to conduct an evaluation. If eligible for damages, victims may seek a settlement with the other side’s insurance company with their lawyer speaking on their behalf. Investigators might come in beforehand to prove the defendant’s distracted behavior, and medical experts may help determine the extent of victims’ injuries.