There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that drinking and driving is against the rules. But what about eating and driving? Can you get in trouble for driving under the influence of too-tempting takeout? Despite the many myths, the rules are actually about distracted driving, not about whether you can have one hand on the wheel and the other on a sandwich.
Distracted driving laws are becoming more strict every year. It can be confusing what we can and can’t do, especially as the term “hands-free” is starting to be used with so much force. Safety efforts want us to keep both our hands on the wheel, not on our phones or navigation systems.
Yet we often have our hands occupied with something other than a technological device – often what’s in our mitts is our meal on the go. Is a snack in hand justification for a ticket? If we’re eating on the road and an accident occurs, could it create problems for our compensation claim?
Does St. Petersburg Have Any Laws Prohibiting Eating While Driving?
There is no specific legal language in Florida that says eating while driving is illegal. In fact, no state within the U.S. has as of yet made driving and grubbing down illegal – even though it has been proposed.
The hands-free laws are pretty specific about what hands shouldn’t be touching, and that’s a wireless device. Florida statute 316.305 is worded to restrict the use of wireless devices. Nonetheless, the ambiguity of how most distracted driving laws are written leaves room for a police officer to claim that any activity that has the driver’s hands, eyes, or attention off the road can be an offense that gets them a ticket. This could be anything from eating to drinking a coffee to applying makeup.
Has Anyone Ever Been Given A Ticket For Eating While Driving?
A Georgia man once had the most expensive cheeseburger of his life. He was famously cited for chowing down on a quarter-pounder after leaving the McDonald’s drive-thru. Apparently, the officer followed him after he pulled out of his favorite fast food joint and then flipped on his red and blues. Reportedly, the officer told the man, “You can’t just go down the road eating a hamburger.” A St. Petersburg distracted driving attorney can tell you that this kind of offense, while humorous, isn’t all that common.
Nonetheless, there was another case of a ticket being given to someone in Oklahoma who was eating and driving. This time the culprit was a Costco rotisserie chicken that the driver just couldn’t resist as he pulled out of the big box store. It appears the cop who saw him wasn’t thrilled with his choice of road snack. The ticket, the photo of which was posted to Reddit, features the officer’s comment, saying “Distracted while eating a rotisserie chicken and entered the other lane.”
Is It Dangerous To Eat and Drive?
Any instance in which we’re distracted while driving obviously has the potential to be dangerous. Whether or not food specifically is dangerous is pretty subjective. This is where the challenge comes in when looking at eating and driving cases that result in a ticket or accident. Because of this ambiguity, it can be complicated for a driver to know what’s safe to eat or not. As a general rule, it’s good to follow the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) recommendations for safe driving based on the distracted driving statute.
What Exactly Is The Distracted Driving Law In St. Petersburg?
Distracted driving is fundamentally simple, albeit ambiguous: anything that will distract you from driving. The only act that is specified is that you may not type any letters or symbols into a handheld electronic device. To get a little more into detail, the FLHSMV says don’t do anything that causes visual, manual, or cognitive distraction. Visual, meaning anything that takes your eyes off the road. Manual, things that cause you to take your hands off the wheel. Lastly, cognitive is that which takes your attention away from your driving.
A moving violation for careless driving in St. Petersburg will run you about $500. If you were to be charged with reckless driving, it gets pricey. A person could face up to 90 days in jail and fines in the thousands of dollars.
If It Can Get Me A Ticket, Does It Mean I Can Be Considered At Fault For An Accident?
Being cited for distracted driving can result in a ticket but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be at fault in an accident. Fault is typically determined using a whole host of factors. The way this is done is by weighing the actions and behavior of each driver involved. Additionally, eyewitness accounts, evidence, and applicable laws will be added to the picture. Determining fault can be complex and requires a thorough and experienced analysis of the specific circumstances of the accident.
If your accident included concerns about liability because of distracted driving, it’s best to consult with a qualified St. Petersburg distracted driving attorney. Their expertise can be a lifeline as they provide advice based on your situation as well as the applicable laws specific to Pinellas County.
Can I Still Get Compensated If I Was Eating While Driving During An Accident?
If you were eating during your accident, compensation is still possible. You just have to show that the other driver was at fault. If your insurer is playing hardball, don’t hesitate to contact a St. Petersburg distracted driving attorney so you have someone on your side to stand up for you.
What Kinds Of Compensation Can I Expect In An Eating While Driving Accident In St. Petersburg?
How much and when you get a payout depends on quite a few factors. Of course, you want to understand your rights and options regarding compensation after an eating-while-driving accident in St. Petersburg. In order to do so, it’s generally best to consult with a qualified St. Petersburg distracted driving attorney who can work out the intricacies of your specific case. This is the best way to make sure you’re covering every little cost that you might not have even realized your policy should cover.
Compensation for personal injury cases typically aims to cover different types of damages such as:
This includes compensation for current and future medical bills related to the accident. It can cover everything from hospitalization, surgeries, rehabilitation, medication, and other necessary treatments.
If your vehicle or any other property was damaged in the accident, you may be entitled to compensation for repair or replacement costs.
Your injuries after an accident often result in missed work. Sometimes they even affect your ability to earn in the future. As such, you could seek compensation for both lost wages and loss of future earning capacity.
Pain and suffering
This concept, while sometimes seeming vague, refers to physical pain, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life experienced as a result of the accident and injuries sustained.
There are a lot of unexpected costs that come along with an accident. Additional damages include things like rehabilitation costs, transportation expenses for medical visits, or home modifications needed due to disabilities resulting from the accident.
Can A St. Petersburg Distracted Driving Attorney Help Me With My Case?
The ways a St. Petersburg distracted driving attorney can help can hardly be overstated. Trying to get the costs of an accident covered is a much harder process than most of us expect. We assume that we pay our insurance policies diligently and therefore, if we have an accident, we’ll be covered just like that. Sadly, this is rarely the case. What’s more, trying to navigate the complexities of an insurance claim or a lawsuit is overwhelming even for the smartest among us.
Hiring an attorney experienced in distracted driving cases can provide several benefits:
A St. Petersburg distracted driving attorney will have an in-depth understanding of the relevant laws and regulations about your case. They can navigate all those confusing technical parts of the judicial system and use their expertise to build a strong case.
Investigation and gathering evidence
Attorneys can conduct a thorough investigation into the accident and collect evidence. This proof makes all the difference in your case and includes everything from police reports to witness testimonies, video footage to phone records, and all kinds of other documentation to establish liability.
Negotiations with insurance companies
Having an attorney on your side can help level the playing field when dealing with insurance companies. They can handle the negotiations and advocate on your behalf, making certain you don’t get pressured into accepting less than you deserve.
If a fair settlement can’t be reached through negotiations, a St. Petersburg distracted driving attorney can represent you in court. They will present your case before a judge or jury. It’s good to ask an attorney when choosing one whether or not they have litigation experience.
Guidance throughout the process
Attorneys provide guidance and support at every step of the legal process. They can explain your rights, advise you on legal strategies, and keep you informed about potential options or developments in your case.
Contact A St. Petersburg Distracted Driving Attorney For A Free Consultation
Even if you were eating while driving during your accident, you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to our St. Petersburg distracted driving attorneys. No matter how complex your case, our team of lawyers has the experience necessary to win. They’ll listen to your story and see how they can help.
We take the time to review every last detail. We can sort through the distractions thrown at you by insurance companies to find the strengths of your case so you can receive your just compensation after a crash. Don’t forget that time is always of the essence – you don’t want the statute of limitations to be the thing that blocks you from getting your costs covered.
Our consultation is completely free, so reach out today and we’ll get started right away on getting you your money back.