The risk of being involved in a road traffic accident for drivers who eat at the wheel is around twice that of drivers who don’t. This is similar to the risk involved in driving while using a mobile phone.
Research by Brunel University has shown that three quarters of motorists eat or drink non-alcoholic drinks while driving. The university did an experiment where drivers using a simulator would twice drive an urban route, once while eating or drinking and once normally. Each time at some point during the route a pedestrian would appear. The drivers were twice as likely to hit the pedestrian while eating or drinking.
There have also been some high profile accidents caused in this way. In 2001 Thomas Munch-Peterson was jailed for killing three people on a motorway after swerving while looking for a mint in his jacket pocket.
Despite there being no specific laws against eating while driving, drivers who cause an accident while eating or drinking can be charged with careless or dangerous driving.
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