Strong Criminal Defense Forged By
Over 20 Years Of Experience

Put your food down and keep your eyes on the road

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2023 | Traffic Violations |

Most of us lead such busy lives that we tend to multitask every chance we get. How often, for example, do you drive around while eating a burger because you forgot to eat breakfast? Although eating while behind the wheel may seem smart, doing so can potentially put you and other motorists in danger.

Eating behind the wheel is a form of distracted driving

Distracted driving is when the driver’s attention is divided between driving and another activity. State law on distracted driving only applies to texting or using similar handheld devices while driving. Still, other activities, such as texting, eating or adjusting the radio, can be just as distracting.

Because eating while driving combines the three main driver distractions – visual, manual and cognitive – you increase your chances of getting into an accident. We do not just put the food into our mouths. We have to unwrap packages, avoid spilling or insert a straw into a plastic cup, all of which can divert our attention from the wheel.

So, while it is not illegal to eat while driving in Florida, it can cause you to drive recklessly or carelessly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), distracted driving has resulted in about 3,000 fatalities every year.

Florida’s careless driving law

Taking your eyes off the road for even a second can put yourself and others in danger. While a police officer may not apprehend you just for eating in your vehicle, you may still be liable for any damage you cause because you were distracted by your food.

Florida’s careless driving law mandates that anyone on the road must exercise care to avoid endangering or causing damage to anyone or their property. For instance, failing to see road signs because you were taking a bite or reaching for food across a seat may cause you to disregard the safety of others and violate this law.

In addition to receiving four points on your license, a careless driving conviction can cost you up to $500 in fines. Careless driving will not land you in jail, but you may face a lawsuit if your negligence causes death, injury or property damage.

Take time to sit down and enjoy your food instead. Not only is it good for digestion, but it also lessens your risk of distracted driving.