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Should California Ban Eating While Driving?

As San Diego personal injury attorneys, we often see the tragic results of distracted driving firsthand. Most recently, we came across an interesting article about a proposed law in one Chicago suburb that would ban eating behind the wheel.

According to reports, Oak Park officials say they will consider adding an explicit ban on eating while driving when they revisit a local distracted driver ordinance related to texting while driving.

While some might argue that the proposed ban goes too far, the town’s concerns about distracted driving are certainly warranted. A 2009 study by showed that 80 percent of all car crashes involve distracted driving. While cell phone use is often identified as a primary source of distraction, eating and drinking behind the wheel occurs just as frequently.

In fact, a survey conducted by Exxon-Mobil found that 70 percent of drivers eat while driving, and 83 percent drink beverages. In addition, an observational study conducted by Allstate Insurance Company of Canada recently found that eating or drinking was the most frequent distracted-driving offense, with 25 percent of all observed drivers simultaneously consuming food or beverages

“Distractions like eating can become a problem for drivers who can’t react quickly to a sharp curve,” the Exxon study stated. “Even with a travel lid, hot coffee can find its way out of the opening when you hit a bump.”