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Roadscapes Wednesday: The Dangers Of Eating While Driving


Roadscapes Geek Alabama

Last week, this made the news across Alabama.  A man from Alabama named Madison Turner was pulled over and given a ticket for eating while driving.  The ticket came from the Cobb County police, and the ticket was a violation of the Cobb County distracted driving law.  Madison ordered a Double Quarter Pounder with cheese from a McDonald’s in Marietta.  And a police officer followed the driver while eating the burger for two miles!  Let’s get this off my chest, eating a big burger like that while driving down the road is probably not a good idea to begin with.

The police officer finally pulled over Madison Turner and said “You can’t just go down the road eating a hamburger.”  So the police officer wrote a citation under Georgia’s distracted driving law, and in the remarks section of the ticket, he wrote eating while driving.  Before you say this is government going to far.  Here is what the distracted driving law in Georgia states.

A driver shall exercise due care in operating a motor vehicle on the highways of this state and shall not engage in any actions which shall distract such driver from the safe operation of such vehicle.

Yes, we don’t know thew entire story here.  Did the police officer notice driving errors like swerving and bad driving?  Or did the police officer just wrote up a ticket because eating is evil while driving?  I mean, most of us including me does eat something while driving.  It could be a bag of chips, or a candy bar, or beef jerky, or something else.  Eating small food items does not mean you are taking your eyes off the road.  Because your hand is reaching down to grab a handful of chips.  But trying to eat a big cheeseburger while driving down the road.  Chances are you might be using both hands, and might not be looking down the road like you are supposed too!

So, chances are this ticket will probably be thrown out in court.  And other attorneys have never seen anything like this, and the only time eating while driving becomes a factor is when an accident occurs.  So, I have to believe the judge will throw out this ticket, and this will be a lesson to anyone driving down the road.  People, including myself, are getting tired of other drivers doing stupid things behind the wheel.  It’s not just eating, it’s using their cell phone, texting, reading, drinking, being in an argument, and other stupid things.  My favorite is when someone is using their cell phone at a red light, and sits there when the light is green, and the light turns back to red, and it causes other drivers to wait through another light cycle.  Yep, distracted driving is bad!

And here is something else to think about, did you know that eating and/or drinking while driving is more distracting than people using cell phones?  Studies show that using a cell phone while you’re driving makes you 20-times more likely to crash, and that’s scary enough. But when researchers examined 34-million risky driving incidents, they found that distractions from eating and drinking are much more common than distractions from cell phones. The biggest problems: oopsies like spilled drinks, and dropped burgers — where drivers try to grab napkins and clean up the mess — all while hurdling down the highway at high speeds.  At least, that is what John Tesh says!

I know some of you are going to say things like “the police have gone too far” or “this is big government for you.”  But let me say this for the many car drivers out there.  You should not be doing anything that is distracted while driving!  From using a cell phone to eating a large cheeseburger, other drivers don’t like it, I don’t like it, and the police don’t like it either!  This is not big government or the police going to far, it’s stopping stupid drivers from harming themselves or others on the road.  Let’s sum up this post with a simple public service message.  If you need to do anything while driving, just find a spot and pull off the road, us drivers thank you for it!