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Here's a question that hungry commuters may want answered: Is it legal to eat and drive?
It may seem like a silly question, given the number of drive-thru food options available. But with more states expanding their distracted driving laws, can eating while driving technically be considered unlawful?
So far, there's no law that explicitly bans the act of "eating" behind the wheel. However, because of the way distracted driving laws are worded, local law enforcement could potentially determine that shoveling a muffin in your mouth while maneuvering through traffic is enough to warrant a ticket.
When people think of distracted driving laws, they typically think of bans on talking on the phone or sending text messages. But these behaviors are often explicitly listed as illegal.
However, under most distracted driving laws, police can actually pull you over for engaging in any activity that prevents you from driving safely. This can include applying makeup while driving, cuddling with your dog while driving, or even eating while driving.
Here are some examples to chew over:
It's easy to see how eating and driving can become a distraction -- dripping sauces, bad packaging, poor hand-to-mouth coordination, and hot temperatures can cause you to shift your focus from the road. It has happened before: In one case, a commercial truck driver choked on spicy pork rinds and lost control of his vehicle; luckily, he suffered only minor injuries and did not hit any other vehicles.
Since not every state has the same distracted driving laws, it’s important to be up to date before hitting the road. But maybe think about whether you really need to eat while behind the wheel.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
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