• May 11th 2012 at 11:20AM
  • 496
Sure, it looks delicious, but is it worth the ticket? (... Sure, it looks delicious, but is it worth the ticket? (stu_spivack, Flickr)
Would you pay $500 for a chicken dinner you had to eat in your car?

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.
Do you eat while driving?
Yes, all the time 12190 (17.7%)
Sometimes 40917 (59.4%)
Never 15814 (22.9%)

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.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      They are desperate for money, most states are broke or in debt (beyond broke) that is what is driving this!
      • 3 Years Ago
      To bad this is about giving more tickets and not public safety.
      • 3 Years Ago
      What about grooming while driving? Folks sorta deserve getting poked in the eye driving while applying mascara in the rear-view mirror. (No, Buffy, that is NOT why they put that cute little mirror in such a handy spot.) And I also knew a guy who read entire novels while driving--poor thing had a 30 minute commute and had to have something to occupy his lil' mind! I am not talking books-on-tape here.
      • 3 Years Ago
      this is why im afraid of getting my license especially in the state of florida where the traffic is 100x more dangerous then any other state
      • 3 Years Ago
      i generally eat while driving long distances; not a full meal..... sandwich, fries...... sounds like these citations are being inforced to get additional $$$
      • 3 Years Ago
      Two years ago a woman was eating an ice cream with a spoon while driving. She didn't even see my grandparents and she hit them head on. they both died a week later and it's still so hard for my family. It's just not worth taking the risk. Keep your eyes on the road and remember it's not just you out there!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nope not I, nor anyone eats in my car. No drinks not even water are allowed in my vehicle and there are no ash trays in it either .you want to eat then I'll pull over and drop you off at a Micky D's but no food in my car! And I never text not just in my car but anywhere you want to contact me call my number or email me I don't respond to text messeges.
      • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Okay , never mind this ,as I used to eat a half bucket while going down the East River drive, steering with my knees . The real First Prize should go to that Woman in Florida {where else}, who had her ex husband hold the wheel as She drove at a high rate of speed along a causway to meet her date ,,while the EX husband held the wheel , she was giving her coochie a trim .needless to say they were stupid enough to admit it to the EMTs and State Police after she drove off the roadway. AH Florida !
      • 3 Years Ago
      So they can eat donuts while driving, but we can't? *************, Police.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Interesting how texting, phone use and eating are such a big distraction. How about smoking? how abou talking to someone else thats in the car? When is all this going to stop? Theres enough laws and regulations on the books now. Its like they want to make a criminal out of every citizen.
      • 3 Years Ago
      what part of distracted driving don't you people understand? eating, drinking means you have to take your eyes off the road for a second...it only takes a split second for someone barreling down the road to make sure that last bite is your last...capishe?
    • Load More Comments