Eating a Burger While Driving — Is it Legal in Michigan?
We have all done it...we are running behind, but we need a quick bite to eat. We run through at a drive thru at a fast food restaurant -- and then eat our hamburger and fries while we are driving down the road. It's probably not the safest thing to do behind the wheel of a car -- but is it legal?
Can I Get a Ticket for Eating While Driving?
The answer to that question really depends on just how you look at it. The is no law that specifically says you can not eat while driving, but you could still get ticketed if you are doing so.
Eating could fall under the category of "careless" or "distracted" driving. You can be ticketed for those offenses, especially if while eating you are involved in an accident.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website says that in 2020, 3,142 people died from distracted driving.
Michigan Auto Law, auto accident attorneys, say that distracted drivers have increased by 11% in the United States. That percentage is much higher in the state of Michigan, jumping up 27% over the last five years.
Three Types of Distracted Driving
Visual -- you take your eyes off the road
Manual -- taking your hands off the steering wheel
Cognitive -- taking your mind off of driving.
The website Michigan.gov lists distracting activities which could lead to a ticket:
- Texting or messaging
- Checking social media
- Taking on the phone -- even if hands-free
- Watching videos
- Drinking a beverage
- Child or pet distractions
- Chatting with your passenger
- Searching or reaching for an item
- Looking at accidents
- Looking at roadside sights
- Checking your navigation system
- Reading a map or anything else
- Adjusting the air conditioning or heat
- Adjusting the radio (so leave it just on our station!)
- Listing to loud music
What is the Fine for Distracted Driving in Michigan?
The website trustedchoice.com lists the fines for distracted driving...
- $100 for a first violation
- $200 for a second and subsequent violations
- $240 if you violate the law while holding a Level 1 or 2 license.
So while there is no real law that says "you shall not eat while driving", it could still fall into the distracted driving category and cost you some money if ticketed. The safest thing to do is just take a few more minutes and eat your food before you head back out on the road.