Truck Drivers Should Never Eat and Drive
When you think of dangerous driving distractions in this day and age, it is natural to first think of texting or using your smartphone. However, many other activities can take your eyes away from the road, you mind off of driving, and/or your hands off the steering wheel. One activity that many people may not think twice about is eating while driving, however, this can result in very serious collisions and injuries. Eating will necessarily take your hands of off the wheel and, in most situations, will take your focus away from the act of driving. Many drivers also look at the food they are eating, which means eating can result in manual, cognitive, and visual distractions.
Eating and driving may be more common than you think, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported1 that 1.25 billion car trips are taken every week in the United States by drivers who are eating drinking, or both. This certainly contributes to the number of collisions caused by distracted drivers each day in the U.S.
Commercial truck drivers spend many of their hours on the road. When they are stopped, many truck drivers take the opportunity to talk to their families on the phone, shower, and sleep. Not all drivers spend their time off eating in truck stops – instead, many drivers choose to purchase meals and eat them on the road. In addition, even if they eat meals on their rest breaks, they are likely going to want snacks or drinks to take with them, as they will be driving for many hours possibly before another break.
However, whenever commercial truck drivers take meals, snacks, or beverages with them to consume while driving, they are putting all other drivers and passengers around them at risk. Many truck drivers believe they are such experienced drivers that they can operate their trucks sufficiently while eating or drinking. They may not realize how distracting these activities can be until it is too late after a crash has occurred.
Foods that can be Particularly Dangerous
NHTSA2 researchers take the issues of eating, drinking, and driving so seriously that they have even determined which foods and drinks are the most dangerous for truck drivers – and all drivers, for that matter – to take on the road. The top ten are as follows:
- Hot coffee – Anytime hot coffee spills on your lap or hand, it can cause pain and serious distraction.
- Soup – Like coffee, soup can be very hot and can hurt when it spills, which can be often if you are trying to eat with a spoon while driving.
- Chili – Again, eating from a bowl with a spoon while behind the wheel generally requires both hands and can spill easily.
- Chocolate – Chocolate can get melted easily if it is stored in a hot car and can get all over your hands and the steering wheel.
- Hamburgers – Hamburgers or any type of sandwich between two buns can be messy to eat even when you are not driving and it can be distracted if toppings fall off into your lap.
- Drinks in cans or bottles – Cans and bottles can be difficult to open and it often requires both hands. In addition, if a drink is carbonated, it can take significant attention to keep it from spilling when you open it.
- Barbecue – Most people will agree that barbecue is not barbecue unless it has plenty of sauce. Saucy sandwiches can cause a big mess when trying to eat it with one hand behind the wheel.
- Tacos or burritos – While these come wrapped neatly in tortillas, they often do not stay that way for long and many toppings can fall all over the place and can cause distractions.
- Filled pastries – When you bite into a doughnut that is filled with cream or jelly, chances are the filling will go everywhere and you will need to take the focus off the road to clean yourself up.
- Fried chicken – Like other fried foods, your hands can become greasy and this grease can pass over to the steering wheel.
Call an Experienced Florida Truck Accident Attorney for Help
If you have been injured because a truck driver was distracted by eating, drinking, or engaging in any other type of distracting activity, you should not hesitate to call the Dolman Law Group in Florida for help. Call 727-451-6900 for a free case evaluation as soon as possible.