Eating While Driving: Is it Illegal in California?
Eating while driving is something so common on our roads today. It is not just California drivers, as many drivers around the nation tend to go through a drive-thru each day. Some might not have enough time to sit down for breakfast or lunch and that is why they opt for eating while being behind the wheel.
Laws in California on distracted driving can lead to having citations and tickets from the police. The question is, are people who eat while driving also falls under the category of distracted driving?
It has been established that eating can be a form of distraction for the driver from concentrating. It is worth noting that distracted driving alone has led to at least 3,450 deaths in just 2016 alone. As a result, before you end up eating your favorite food while driving, think of the potential consequences you might face in California.
How does the distracted driving law relate to food?
There is no doubt that many would agree that drinking and eating are easily driver distractions that should be avoided. Based on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics, distracted driving has caused a large number of road accidents. This has made California lawmakers come up with laws to keep the rate of distracted accidents to a minimum.
Some of the laws that have emerged in California mostly target the use of cell phones while driving. The California Vehicle Code states that it is illegal to drive while operating or holding a cellphone or any other electronic wireless communication device. However, using a hands-free device remains legal in California.
Whenever you violate this law in California, you will be fined $20 for a first time offender. For subsequent similar offenses, you have to pay a fine of $50. As much as using a cell phone while driving is the commonly charged distracted driving offense, eating, drinking or personal grooming are also dangerous.
At the moment, there are no specific laws that explicitly claim that eating while driving is illegal, but the police can always use related laws to issue a ticket based on distracted driving.
When do you cross the distracted driving line?
Just because you were eating while driving, it does not mean you should get a ticket and subsequently fined. If the driver can remain in control of the vehicle, then the officer has to find another reason to cite that particular driver. This can include cases such as speeding or simply reckless driving.
To end up with a ticket or not will all be based on the officer’s belief of the driver’s capability to safely multitask. If the driver was eating while at the same time paying attention to the road and other users, then the officer will not have any grounds for conducting a traffic stop.
Well, drivers should just keep off eating until they get home or stop somewhere to eat without it being a distraction. Even if the driver thinks that he or she can multitask, the odds are that some point the food might take your concentration off the road. It is worth noting that while driving in California or any other place, you need to be 100% concentrated on the road. Sometimes those instant decisions you have to make while driving can avoid collisions and save lives.