The terminology used to describe car accidents in Alabama is typically correct given that these incidents are usually accidents. Yet while those who cause car collisions typically do not intend to, that does not necessarily mean that they were not negligent.

Among the most common forms of negligence contributing to car accidents are driving distractions. Many might limit such actions to cell phone use while behind the wheel, yet there are actually many different forms of driving distractions. One is so common that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that it may be responsible for as many as 80% of all car accidents.

How distracting is eating and drinking while driving?

The distraction referred to in this case is eating and drinking while driving. Many may not view these activities as distracting (indeed, some might even argue that automakers and eateries encourage it by incorporating cup holders in vehicle designs and offering drive-thru services). Yet a closer examination of common driving distractions reveals that these actions do indeed take one’s attention away from the road.

Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the three common types of driving distractions include:

  • Manual distractions
  • Cognitive distractions
  • Visual distractions

Cognitive and visual distractions are those that take one’s attention and gaze off the road ahead. Manual distractions require one to remove at least one hand from the steering wheel. Eating and drinking behind the wheel require a driver to engage in all three.

The prevalence of dining behind the wheel

Yet even more alarming than how distracting eating and drinking while driving can be may be how many drivers actually engage in such activity. A study conducted by Exxon Mobil showed that 70% of participants admit to eating behind the wheel (while 83% claim to drink beverages while driving).