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Eating and drinking while driving – are you guilty?

| Mar 4, 2015 | Automobile Accidents |

For many people, eating while driving may seem like an easy way to shave minutes off a morning routine. However, this is an extremely unsafe habit. Those who engage in this behavior regularly have a higher chance of causing a devastating car accident. Any Chicago car accident lawyer would explain that this is an unacceptable risk. As such, Illinois residents may want to stop engaging in this type of behavior.

Unrecognized danger

Part of the issue with eating and driving is that it occurs so commonly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly half of drivers eat or drink behind the wheel. The agency also notes that only 17 percent of people believe that eating and driving makes drivers significantly more dangerous.

The academic journal Accident Analysis and Prevent explains that eating and driving is a major source of driver distraction. This behavior is associated with impaired driving performance, such as removing hands from the steering wheel. Drivers who eat and drink are also more likely to take their eyes off of the road. These impairments may cause serious traffic accidents, as any Chicago car accident lawyer would know.

Regulation issues

According to the New York Times, many states are having difficulties regulating eating and driving. Experts claim that this is partially because specifically banning every type of distracted driving behavior is not practical. Some states are addressing the problem through laws requiring drivers to exercise due care. Under these broad provisions, authorities may ticket drivers who are engaging in dangerous behavior.

A due care provision is included in Sect. 11-1004 of the Illinois Vehicle Code. The New York Times did not, however, mention whether state officers regularly utilize this law to address eating and driving.

Tips from the Illinois State Police

The Illinois State Police website provides several tips to prevent distracted driving. One of these is to avoid drive-through restaurants. The ISP recognizes that such eateries are convenient. However, the agency notes that frequenting such restaurants in order to eat and drive may not be a good idea. As a general rule, the ISP encourages stopping the car for meals.

Serious accidents may arise as a direct result of eating and driving. Such collisions may lead to severe injuries or even fatalities. As such, the risk of engaging in this type of behavior is not justifiable. Those who have been injured by a distracted driver may want to contact a Chicago accident lawyer. These victims may be able to obtain compensation for their losses through a civil lawsuit.