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The risks posed by “dining drivers”

Many people in Indiana may point to the reported rise in incidences of distracted driving in recent years as directly coinciding with the proliferation of cell phone technology. Yet donuts, hamburgers and hot cups of coffee can end up distracting a driver just as badly. 

Indeed, if you find yourself at a loss to explain what caused your accident, many of our past clients here at Allen Wellman Harvey Keyes Cooley, LLP may tell you to look for signs such as open food containers on the floor of another’s vehicle or fresh stains on the shirt or hands of the driver that hit you. 

Pinpointing the dangers of eating and drinking while driving

While seemingly innocuous activity, eating and drinking behind the wheel can be a major distraction (so much so that The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that it could be the cause of almost 80% of all car accidents). Many people may argue that the existence of drive-thru restaurants or the fact that automakers incorporate cup holders into vehicle designs are evidence that motorists can (and should) consume food and drinks while driving. Yet studies show that doing so may increase one’s chances of experiencing a car accident 3.6 times more likely. 

Understanding driving distractions

Yet how can such a seemingly natural action distract a driver? Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are three major types of driving distractions: 

  • Manual 
  • Cognitive 
  • Visual 

Consider if whether food or a drink affected the driver that caused your accident. They would have had at least one hand off the steering wheel, and their vision and attention split between their food and the road (which combined can result in a significant distraction).

You can learn more about assigning liability for a car accident by continuing to explore our site.