How Common Are Car Accidents Due to Eating While Driving in St. Petersburg, FL?
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers | Car Accident
Distracted driving is a problem, both in the State of Florida and across the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that about nine people every day, or approximately 3,100 people annually, are killed in crashes involving distracted drivers.
In 2019, Florida enacted the Wireless Communications While Driving Law, which prohibits drivers from texting while driving. But there is another common and equally dangerous form of distracted driving happening on the road: eating while driving.
Why It Is Dangerous to Eat and Drive
Any action that takes your eyes, hands, or attention off of the road can be a distraction. When you do not give your full attention to the road and surrounding traffic, your ability to notice and avoid hazards is diminished. When your hands are busy manipulating something else, you cannot maneuver your car as quickly or easily.
Eating while driving is such a danger because it takes your eyes, attention, and hands off the steering wheel when your car is in motion. Taking a bite of a burger or taco may only take a few seconds, but a serious distracted driving collision can easily occur within that moment.
A report on distracted driving from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that eating food or drinking beverages from an open container such as a wrapper or cup while driving increases the risk of a crash or near-crash by nearly 40 percent.
Prevalence of Eating While Driving in St. Petersburg
In a 2022 nationwide survey conducted by insurance company The Zebra, well over half of both males and females admitted to eating while driving at least some of the time. The survey also found that at least 13 percent of baby boomers admit to eating while driving every day. Gen X’ers were the least likely age group to eat and drive.
These survey results are not scientific and do not represent the demographics of St. Petersburg specifically. However, the results do suggest that eating while driving may be more commonplace than you might think.
The Most Dangerous Foods to Consume While Driving
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a study nearly 15 years ago that examined the most dangerous foods to consume while driving. According to the New York Daily News, which reported on the survey at the time, the following foods rank as the top five most dangerous and distracting foods:
- Coffee: it is hot, and even bumps and potholes can cause it to spill
- Soup: it may be hot and can easily spill
- Tacos: the fillings can easily fall out of the taco and cause a distraction
- Chili: it is easily spilled and can burn you
- Hamburgers: the toppings often slide off the bun and onto your lap
Other foods that made the list of dangerous foods included barbecued foods, fried chicken, jelly donuts, soda pop, and chocolate candies. All of these dangerous foods had a few common characteristics:
- They were capable of easily spilling or causing messes
- Many could cause burn injuries if they spilled on you
- They require you to use two hands to consume them
The only truly “safe” food or beverage is the one that is not consumed while you are driving.
St. Petersburg Drivers Should Avoid Eating While Driving
Distracted driving, and especially eating while driving, represents a significant risk that can easily be mitigated. Just as you should refrain from texting while driving, you should also put down the coffee cup, burger, or another food item while driving. Wait until you are safely parked, or you have reached your destination.
Contact the Pinellas County Car Accident Law Firm Of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers for Help
For more information, please contact the Clearwater and St. Petersburg car accident law firm of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
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