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Eat While Driving: Is It Dangerous?

eating while driving
eat or drink while driving

Eating while driving is exceedingly common in the United States. With our many fast food options and long commutes, it’s no surprise that most people consume food at the wheel on a regular basis. According to a 2020 survey conducted by the insurance company The Zebra, around 56.7% of Americans regularly eat or drink while driving. 

Because it’s so common, many hold the misconception that eating while driving isn’t dangerous. Unfortunately, this common practice is a form of distracted driving and can greatly increase your risk of causing a traffic accident. 

If you were injured in an accident with a driver who was eating at the wheel or engaging in another distraction, you need to contact a car accident attorney to assist you with your claim. An attorney will help you recover the full compensation you deserve for your vehicle damages and personal injuries.

In this blog, we discuss whether eating while driving is illegal in Kentucky as well as the risks of distracted driving.

Is It Illegal to Eat and Drive?

distracted driving in kentucky

It is technically legal to eat and drive in Kentucky. There are no explicit rules forbidding a person from eating at the wheel. That said, eating while driving is a form of distracted driving. 

Tragically, distracted driving has become a serious epidemic in the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated that around 3,522 people died in distracted driving accidents in 2021 alone, and that doesn’t account for the many thousands of individuals who suffered serious injuries. 

While you may associate distracted driving with texting at the wheel, there are many other forms, all of which are dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are three primary types of distracted driving: visual, manual, and cognitive. 

A manual distraction refers to when a driver takes their hands off their steering wheel. When a driver eats or drinks, they remove at least one hand from the wheel. They may even hold the food or beverage in their hand for several minutes. 

Eating or drinking may also cause a driver to become visually distracted. For example, if you take a drink out of a large tumbler, you may struggle to see the road ahead. Moreover, if you consume messy food at the wheel, such as a taco or burger, you may spill it on your lap, distracting you further.

Most Dangerous Foods to Eat While Driving 

Consuming any food or beverage at the wheel is dangerous, and you should avoid it entirely. That said, the NHTSA reported that there are some foods and beverages that are especially dangerous to ingest at the wheel including:

  • Hot coffee
  • Soda
  • Chocolate
  • Jelly donuts
  • Hamburgers
  • Tacos
  • Fried chicken

It’s common for drivers to consume many of these items, especially coffee and hamburgers. Ingesting these foods and beverages as well as anything else at the wheel can contribute to or cause deadly car accidents. 

Car Accidents Caused by Eating and Driving

When a driver eats and drinks, they may fail to see an approaching vehicle, pedestrian, or cyclist. They may also struggle to maintain control over their vehicle if they’re holding a food or beverage. 

The NHTSA stated that eating or drinking while behind the wheel increases your likelihood of getting in a car accident by 80%. Shockingly, the organization also stated that drivers who ate and drank at the wheel caused 65% of near-miss accidents. 

If you’re involved in an accident with a distracted driver, you need to file a claim with their insurance company to recover compensation for injuries. In the event that you have no-fault insurance, you’ll first go through your own insurance company for compensation. Your no-fault insurance may not cover the full extent of your financial losses, so you’ll likely still need to file a claim against the at-fault driver. 

How Much Compensation Can I Recover From a Distracted Driver?

Your compensation will reimburse you for specific damages. Depending on your damages and the circumstances surrounding the crash, you may be able to recover compensation for:

  • Property damage
  • Past and future medical bills caused by the accident
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Pain and suffering 
  • Emotional trauma and distress
  • Disfigurement
  • Disabilities
  • Loss of enjoyment of life 

Injured In a Distracted Driving Case? Contact a Kentucky Attorney Today

Getting the compensation you deserve after a distracted driving accident can be confusing and overwhelming, especially if you’re also healing from injuries. 

Fortunately, you don’t need to go through it alone — you can contact the Central Kentucky car accident lawyers at McCoy & Sparks Attorneys at Law. We have many years of experience representing injured Kentuckians, and we can help you maximize your compensation. 

You can schedule your FREE consultation with our attorneys by calling 844-459-9467, or you can fill out our online form to get started.