Numerous activities fall into various categories of driving distractions. Whether they are cognitive distractions, manual distractions or visual distractions, these activities prevent a driver from safely operating a motor vehicle on city streets, county roads and busy highways. Vehicle collisions can result in devastating injuries on roads across Pennsylvania.
One type of activity is so common that it is rarely considered dangerous by drivers. Drivers who attempt to save time or multitask by eating a meal while behind the wheel can lose focus, lose attention and lose control of the vehicle.
Unfortunately, dining and driving is so common that it is almost expected. Drivers will often keep a bottle of water or travel mug of coffee in the center console at all times. Drivers who are commuting to school in the morning or coming home from work after a long shift might also try to save time by eating breakfast or dinner during their trip. While it might seem obvious in retrospect, drivers who engage in this activity are clearly removing their hand from the steering wheel as well as their eyes from the road. Additionally, eating and drinking can also represent a cognitive distraction whereby an individual’s thoughts have turned to their meal rather than keeping the road around them safe.
In one commonly-cited study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drivers who are eating or drinking behind the wheel are 39% more likely to be involved in a collision or near-miss collision than drivers who are not engaged in these activities. Aside from the act of eating or drinking itself, drivers must also look away from the road to select their next bite of food. Additionally, if the driver spills the drink or drops food from the container, he or she will immediately look to recover the lost item or clean up the spill.
If you were injured in a motor vehicle collision caused by a negligent driver, it is critical that you discuss your situation with an experienced personal injury attorney. You might be entitled to recover monetary compensation for injuries, lost wages and property damage.