When you hear the term “distracted driving,” like most in Virginia Beach you likely assume that to mean someone texting or talking on their cell phone while behind the wheel. Cell phone use while driving has become a significant issue, yet as we here at The Dickerson & Smith Law Group can attest to, distracted driving was already an issue before cell phone technology became as prominent as it is today. Eating while driving has long been a form of driving distraction that goes overlooked. Like many, you may not view it as a distraction (given that eating and drinking are both such natural actions). Yet a closer examination of how these activities pull one’s attention away from the road may suggest otherwise. 

According to research information shared in a collaboration between The Auto Alliance and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, eating behind the wheel causes the following three types of distractions: 

  • Visual 
  • Manual  
  • Cognitive 

As their names suggest, visual and manual distractions are those activities which require one’s vision and the use of their hands to complete. Cognitive distractions divert one’s attention away from the task at hand. Consider these against those actions of the driver that caused your accident. If they were eating when the collision occurred, their attention and vision were on their food (and not on the road), and at least one hand was off the steering wheel (to grasp whatever it was that they were eating). In any context, these actions would be considered distracting, thus providing the basis for a liability claim. 

More information on assigning liability in the wake of a car accident can be found on our site.