How Common Are Car Accidents Due To Eating While Driving in Fort Lauderdale?

When it comes to negligent behaviors behind the wheel, distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents

Generally, most people associate distracted driving with cell phone use, changing the radio, or even using a navigation system. However, you may be surprised to learn that eating is one of the most dangerous activities behind the wheel. 

Like texting, eating can contribute to drivers taking their eyes off the road. Even a minor distraction can result in devastating consequences.

In Florida, distracted driving is a form of negligence. If you sustained injuries in an accident caused by a driver who was eating, you can file a claim and hold them accountable for their reckless actions.

Distracted Driving Statistics

According to national figures from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 3,100 people died and 424,000 sustained injuries due to distracted driving in 2019. Sadly, about one-fifth of distracted fatalities involve victims struck by a vehicle, including pedestrians and cyclists.

In 2021, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported at least 333 fatalities and thousands of non-fatal injuries from distracted driving.

According to the CDC, traffic experts break down distracted driving into three categories:

  • Manual 
  • Visual
  • Cognitive 

Although visual and cognitive distractions cause drivers to take their eyes and minds away from driving, respectively, manual distractions result in motorists removing their hands from the wheel. The consequences can become particularly deadly when a driver cannot quickly maneuver a vehicle because their hands are holding food or a beverage. 

While many states have enacted laws to ban or restrict cell phone use while driving, none have passed legislation to prevent drivers from eating behind the wheel.

Eating While Driving Causes Crashes

In Florida, motorists have a legal obligation to drive responsibly

Duty of care laws ensure that drivers engage in safe behaviors behind the wheel, including:

  • Following traffic laws
  • Driving within the posted speed limits
  • Abstaining from negligence
  • Using safe driving maneuvers

The likelihood of an accident increases whenever a driver chooses to multitask and ignore established safety standards. 

Some examples of how eating while driving can contribute to a crash include:

  • Becoming distracted after dropping food on the floor
  • Difficulty shifting gears while holding food 
  • Using only one hand to steer
  • Hands becoming slippery due to oily or wet foods

As such, the safest way to eat and drive is to refrain from the practice altogether. If you feel the urge to eat a meal, it’s best to do so before or after your drive. If the eating cannot wait, you can always pull over in a safe area and eat while parked.

How Eating While Driving Can Be Dangerous

While driving may seem simple, many subtle factors contribute to safe and effective driving. Drivers should always know the rules of the road and engage in safe behaviors to prevent crashes and personal injuries.

Reduced Driving Capabilities

If you have a Florida driver’s license, you know that the law requires you to use both hands while operating a vehicle. When people eat and drive simultaneously, they generally use one hand to hold the wheel and the other to hold their food.

As both hands come off the steering wheel, reaction times become slower, and the ability to control a car safely becomes reduced, which can lead to an accident.

Loss of Focus

Like texting on a cell phone, eating causes drivers to take their focus away from the road. Visual and manual distractions can cause motorists to swerve, run a red light, hit a pedestrian, and crash into another car.

Anytime you take your attention away from driving due to eating, the likelihood of an accident increases.

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in South Florida

If you’ve been injured in an accident, please contact our experienced personal injury lawyers in Florida at Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today. We have three convenient locations in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.

We proudly serve Palm Beach County, Broward County, and its surrounding areas:

Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – Boca Raton Law Office
7000 W Palmetto Park Rd #500
Boca Raton, FL 33433
(561) 347-7770

Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – Fort Lauderdale Law Office
200 S.E. 6th Street #203
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
(954) 287-0566

Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – West Palm Beach Law Office
319 Clematis St #203
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
(561) 556-7873