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 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.