Many different activities can be a distraction to drivers in Texas, and some of the most overlooked of these is eating and drinking. The fact is that, depending on the type of food or drink one is consuming, this behavior can be just as dangerous as calling or texting on a phone.
The telematics company Lytx conducted a study back in 2014 and found that drivers who eat and drink behind the wheel are 3.6 times more likely to crash than attentive drivers are. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that the chances of being in a crash or near-crash are nearly 39% higher among drivers who eat or drink out of an open container.
Eating and drinking, first of all, takes drivers’ eyes off the road as they reach for whatever they are consuming. With that same action, eating and drinking is also a manual distraction and causes drivers to exert less control over the steering wheel. Lastly, eating and drinking is an activity that takes drivers’ minds off the road. Thus, it constitutes a cognitive distraction.
The NHTSA has published a list of 10 of the most at-risk foods and drinks that drivers should avoid. It includes chocolate, tacos, chili, barbecued food, soup and coffee. When they absolutely must eat, drivers should consider pulling over to do so.
To do otherwise can be an act of negligence. Whenever negligence is behind motor vehicle accidents, it can form the basis of a personal injury claim. Before filing their claims, crash victims may need a lawyer to help them bring together evidence of the defendant’s negligence. An attorney’s assistance may also prove to be beneficial when the time comes to negotiate a settlement. With legal representation, victims may be compensated for their medical bills, pain and suffering and other losses.