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How Common Are Car Accidents Due to Eating While Driving in Tampa, FL?

How Common Are Car Accidents Due to Eating While Driving in Tampa, FL?

Eating while driving is common throughout the United States. In fact, fast food restaurants provide drive-through customers with the means to do so. However, this practice causes its fair share of car accidents. Although you can do it safely, many motorists drive a little or a lot less safely when eating, and ultimately cause crashes. 

Is Eating Behind the Wheel Considered Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of vehicle accidents in the entire country. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), hundreds of thousands of distracted driving accidents occur each year, and thousands of people lose their lives as a result. 

Is eating distracted driving? Based on the CDC’s definition, eating can certainly be considered distracted driving. The agency describes distracted driving as anything that takes a driver’s attention from operating their vehicle. 

Level of Distraction

Of course, the level of distraction matters. In some cases, eating and driving can be quite dangerous. For example, unwrapping or unboxing a meal behind the wheel can easily lead to a crash, as could reaching inside a bag for food or a napkin. Snacking on an apple, on the other hand, is less risky. 

Eating and Driving Statistics 

If everyone does it, how dangerous could eating behind the wheel be? How many accidents actually occur due to eating and driving? Unfortunately, the precise number of these types of accidents is not reported. 

However, eating is a type of distracted driving, and distracted driving:

  • Caused over 3,500 deaths in 2021
  • Caused over 3,200 fatal crashes in 2021
  • Caused 8% of all traffic fatalities in 2021

Exactly what percentage of those crashes can be attributed to eating is not known. However, what is known is that a majority of motorists eat while driving, and many more consume beverages while operating a vehicle. 

Avoiding Car Accidents While Eating

Drivers will likely continue eating behind the wheel, which is not always bad. The key is to do it safely. 

To avoid an accident while eating behind the wheel, consider:

  • Having food ready, unwrapped, or unboxed and ready to eat
  • Eating simple, easy-to-eat foods
  • Avoiding sloppy foods

You can also use lap and hand napkins to keep your hands and clothing clean. Dirty or greasy hands can interfere with the safe operation of modern vehicles. For example, greasy fingers can interrupt the proper functioning of touch screens, and slippery hands can compromise steering control. 

Can You Sue For an Accident Caused By Eating While Driving?

You can most certainly seek compensation for losses you suffer in an eating-while-driving accident. However, you must first demonstrate that the other driver was eating and driving and was negligent. Injured passengers of drivers who were eating while driving will have an easier time proving this through testimony.

Hiring a lawyer is the first step. Your attorney will thoroughly review every aspect of the accident and build a strong case for liability. 

Various types of evidence may be helpful, such as:

Your attorney will interview any potential witness to the driver eating while driving, such as fast-food or takeout workers, passengers, or other motorists. 

Waiting to Eat Is Worth the Wait

Motorists really shouldn’t be doing much else while operating a motor vehicle. Although eating in your vehicle is common everywhere, it does not mean that it is the safest thing to do. For those who can hold off, waiting to eat until after you’ve parked your car is usually always worth the wait. 

Contact the Tampa Car Accident Law Firm of Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today

For more information, please contact Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with a car accident lawyer in Tampa today. We have five convenient locations in Florida, including Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, and Lakeland.

We proudly serve Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Polk County, and its surrounding areas:

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
601 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 223-6200

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
600 Bypass Dr Suite 224-D, Clearwater, FL 33764
(727) 493-4418

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg Office
111 2nd Ave NE Suite 350, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 314-5988

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
5006 Trouble Creek Rd Unit #200, Port Richey, FL 34652
(727) 910-5060

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Lakeland Office
1543 Lakeland Hills Blvd Suite 18, Lakeland, FL 33805
(863) 251-6196

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