Is Eating Considered Distracted Driving?

When you are short on time, it can often be tempting to get in that last bite while driving. However, as we have seen in recent news, eating while driving can be a significant distraction and hazard on the road.

Distracted Driving Does Not Just Include Cell Phone Use

In 2017, a BC motorist was pulled over by a police officer and fined for eating ramen noodles with chopsticks while operating a vehicle. The judge ruled that the violation was not necessarily the nibbling while driving that cost her a fine, but the fact that the driver was using chopsticks to eat her meal. The RCMP stated “a reasonable and
prudent person should have at least one hand on the wheel while the car is in motion.”

A year ago, BC RCMP posted via social media warning that motorists will be fined $368 + 6 points for driving without due care. Drivers will not only feel the financial burden if pulled over for this violation, but common sense dictates that distracted driving is also a severe hazard for pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers.

https://twitter.com/BCRCMPTraffic/status/907611951953563649?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E907611951953563649&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cbc.ca%2Fnews%2Fcanada%2Fbritish-columbia%2Fchopstick-distracteddriving-eating-1.5279643

Know the Dangers of Eating While Driving

When a driver’s eyes or hands are distracted while the vehicle is in motion, the driver is not paying 100% full attention on the road ahead or surroundings -- proving to be a hazard to others and puts the driver at a higher risk of being hit by another vehicle. Authorities may use their discretion to ticket motorists in BC who are eating while driving if they deem that motorists are unable to operate their vehicles safely.

Distracted Driving Is One Of The Leading Causes Of Vehicle Collisions

In 2017, according to ICBC, distracted driving caused more deaths in BC -- accounting for nearly 78 deaths on BC roads every year. Distracted driving can lead to decreased reaction times leading to an accident. A study found that in 80% of collisions, the driver was found to be distracted and looked away from the road 3 seconds prior to the
collision.

What Qualifies As Distracted Driving?

Any item or device that distracts a driver from paying full attention to the road including:

  • Cell phone use (hand held calls and texting)
  • Reading maps or books
  • Watching videos, movies or GPS
  • Adjusting the radio, earphone use and listening to extremely loud music
  • Smoking and personal grooming
  • Eating and Drinking

How to Prevent Eating While Driving

As we mentioned above, authorities may use their own discretion if they deem a driver is operating their vehicle with undue care. That being said, it is always best to focus on the road and avoid any distractions that will put yourself and others in danger.

  • Keep your phone out of sight to reduce the temptation of accepting calls and texting or turn off notifications. Lower (or turn off) your ringtone until you’ve reached your destination.
  • Keep music volume at a level that does not distract your focus on the road.
  • Plan your route ahead of time.
  • Often it’s tempting to eat a snack and drink while driving. If you must, wait until you are stopped at a light. The best option is to eat and drink before or after you operate your vehicle.
  • Reduce the temptation of being distracted while driving by keeping all items out of sight while driving.

If you are injured as a result of a distracted driver, you have the right to pursue legal action against the responsible party and receive monetary compensation. Contact our trusted team at Tim Louis & Company today to learn more about the options available to you at 604-732-7678 or email timlouis@timlouislaw.com.

sources:
https://www.icbc.com/about-icbc/newsroom/Pages/2017-Sept6.aspx
http://www.leavethephonealone.ca/en/facts