With so much attention going to smartphone use behind the wheel, it’s understandable that many drivers would not think of eating and drinking as a potential source of distraction for them. But this does not make it safe. You may have found this out first-hand after a car accident in North Carolina caused by distracted driving.
How food and drink can distract you
First, you should know that there are three recognized types of distractions. Any one of these can form the basis for a successful claim. There are those distractions that take your eyes off the road (visual), take your hands from the wheel (manual) and make you inattentive in general (cognitive). Eating and drinking, just as much as cellphone use, can comprise all three.
Consequences of eating and drinking
Like any other distracting activity, eating and drinking will slow your reactions to dangers on the road. A University of Leeds study back in 2012 found that eating slows drivers down by 44% whereas texting slows them down by 37.4%. This activity can also lead to drivers drifting out of their lane. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that eating and drinking raises your risk for a crash by 80%.
For victims of negligence
Drivers are being negligent when they eat and drink behind the wheel. If the other driver in the motor vehicle accident that injured you is 100% to blame, you may, in accord with North Carolina’s pure contributory negligence rule, go forward with a claim. Of course, achieving a fair settlement from the insurance company is another matter, but a lawyer may help. For example, the lawyer’s investigators might uncover evidence from the crash that shows how the defendant was eating or drinking at the moment of impact.