Talking on the phone while driving and texting while driving have been the primary focus of Florida’s Legislative Session this year. However, another form of distracted driving that is commonly overlooked and extremely dangerous is eating while driving. Some studies show that eating or drinking while driving can cause as many or more car accidents as texting while driving. One of the biggest problems surrounding eating while driving is that it is so common. Drive-thru restaurants enable drivers to eat while driving and even package food accordingly. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) attributes at least 3,000 deaths per year to distracted driving related crashes. According to ExxonMobile Corp. approximately 70% of people admit to eating while driving and 83% of people drink beverages while driving.
Eating while driving is extremely distracting to drivers not only because they are eating, but because they are either holding their food, wrapping or unwrapping their food, cleaning up anything that has spilled, reaching for food, using a napkin, etc. In 2009, a study by the NHTSA estimated that 80% of car accidents are the result of a driver eating while behind the wheel. The study also showed that certain types of foods are more distracting to eat while driving than others. It showed that coffee is the worst thing to consume while driving, the reason being that the driver is focused on not spilling the hot liquid and tries harder to avoid bumps and sharp turns. Other foods/beverages the study found that were among the most dangerous included: soup, tacos, chilidogs, hamburgers, ribs, wings, jelly doughnuts, fried chicken, soda and chocolate.
The State of Florida does not currently have any laws that prohibit distracted driving. However, if you are involved in an accident where the driver was eating or drinking a beverage while driving, you can file a lawsuit to be fully compensated for any damages you have suffered from the accident. Under Florida law, you can obtain compensation for past and future medical bills and expenses, loss of wages, property damage, pain and suffering, etc. You will need to hire an experienced Orlando auto accident lawyer to help you prove that the other driver has breached his or her duty of care, by causing the accident. A breach of the duty of care is considered negligent driving in Florida. The vehicle owner/driver is legally liable if they have breached this duty of care by eating or drinking a beverage while driving.
It is important that you contact your auto accident lawyer immediately following the accident so that he or she can gather sufficient evidence to prove the other driver was distracted. In cases where a driver was eating or drinking, evidence from the scene of the auto accident can be crucial because the other driver might not be honest with the police or in the courtroom. Your experienced auto accident lawyer will look for evidence at the scene of the accident such as food wrappers or bags, or food or beverage stains on the clothing of the other driver to prove the other driver was distracted while eating.
Hire an Experienced Orlando Auto Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident with a driver who was eating or drinking a beverage while driving, you need to contact an experienced Orlando Auto Accident Lawyer to help you file a lawsuit. We can help you obtain compensation for medical bills, future medical treatment, loss of wages, pain and suffering, etc. Feel free to fill out our quick contact form on our website to discuss your legal options in more detail.