Why A Man Paid $500 To Eat A Chicken Dinner In His Car
Distracted driving getting out of hand with food, pets and smartphones
That's just what an Ottawa, Canada man ended up paying earlier this month when police pulled him over and ticketed the greasy-fingered Canuck for attempting to eat an entire rotisserie chicken while driving.
Ontario police, reports CBC News, pulled the 58-year old driver over after observing him weaving all over the road as he was clearly reaching down for something on the seat. The police also reported he was driving with his knees.
For all that we hear about the dangers of texting while driving, statistics show that drivers, including Americans, are far more frequently distracted by eating while driving than by smartphone use.
All those cup holders auto makers keep putting in our vehicles, it turns out, can be bad for us. Even if they keep hot coffee and giant sodas out of our hands, having food and drink in the car still takes our eyes away from the task at hand -- safe driving.
According to a PEMCO Insurance poll, eating was the distraction that drivers cop to the most -- 65%. Fifty-eight percent said they talk on a cellphone while driving. Six-percent admitted to reading a magazine or book while driving, and we aren't talking audio books!
SmartDrive Systems, a company that conducts research and training for companies that operate large fleets of vehicles, also reports that consuming food and beverages far out-paces cell-phone use as a distraction based on examining data from 34 million risky driving incidents.
The hazards of eating and drinking should be obvious. Spills of drinks or messy foods like hamburgers, pizza, sub sandwiches, french fries, and yes...whole chickens make us want to stop watching the road to find napkins and look at how bad the damage is.
Eating in cars is a phenomenon that began in the U.S. For years, cup-holders in European cars like Volkswagens and BMWs were awful and mis-sized. That's because Germans, culturally, don't do much eating and drinking in cars, and drive-through fast-food places are still hard to find in that country.
State police crack down on guitar playing behind the wheel
California State Police has had several crackdowns on distracted driving that includes eating, cell-phone talking, texting, driving with pets in the driver's lap and, yes, even playing guitars while driving.
Under California's vehicle code, a driver can be ticketed $145 to $1,000 for engaging in any activities that distracts the driver. The law is intentionally worded in a broad manner, and spells out any activity that causes the driver to have "wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property."
The Federal government is considering regulation that would severely curtail the use of smartphones in cars. But so far, the Department of Transportation is not saying much about whole chickens, Chihuahuas or guitars.
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