Certain Cities Are Cracking Down and Banning Eating While Driving
Most states have already banned texting while driving or other forms of cell phone use while driving; however, some cities are taking their distracted driving bans a step further and banning eating while behind the wheel. Cities such as Huron, South Dakota, have approved city ordinances that banned distracted driving in forms such as texting while driving, talking on the phone while driving and eating while driving. South Dakota is one of the few states left that has not installed any type of ban on distracted driving. In December 2012, the City Commission passed the law where drivers who are caught eating while driving would be fined $15. The ban would also allow law enforcement to charge a driver with reckless driving if they cause a car accident due to eating while driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 80 percent of accidents are attributed to eating while driving. Consequently, eating while driving causes more accidents than texting while driving, talking on the phone while driving or drinking alcohol while driving. Eating while driving is dangerous because it causes a lack of concentration on the road. If a driver is forced to wrap or unwrap food, clean up something that has spilled or tears apart easily, or spills a hot substance such as coffee or tea, they are likely to cause an accident or almost cause an accident. Eating while driving takes less cognitive thinking than texting while driving; however, it physically impairs the driver because they are likely using one hand or less to drive while they are eating. For this reason, it is likely that other cities will follow Huron’s lead and place a ban on eating while driving. Distracted driving has been a highly publicized issue lately as the result of many states outlawing texting while driving.