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Is eating while driving as bad as using a mobile phone behind the wheel?

Recent research has reportedly shown eating or drinking at the steering wheel to be as dangerous as using a mobile phone – both hand-held and hands-free!
A study performed by risk management firm Lytx Europe has revealed that drivers who eat and drink in the driver’s seat are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in an accident on the road than those who do not.

It has been found that those behind the wheel for extended periods of time, such as truck or cab drivers, are particularly susceptible to accidents caused by eating or drinking.
These figures are almost as high as those which highlight the dangers of mobile phone use in the car. Information produced by Lytx suggests someone using a hands-free device is 4.6 times more liable to be involved in a crash than someone focusing entirely on the road ahead. And as for hand-held devices? That increases the likelihood of collision by 4.7 times.

Del Lisk, vice president of Safety Services for Lytx said, ‘I see people eating while driving almost every day. What we’ve learned is that this type of distraction is nearly as dangerous as talking or texting on your phone.’

Aside from the results relevant to consuming food and drink when driving, the study also shines light on the dangers of going hands-free at the wheel. says anyone caught using a mobile device will be fined £100 and have 3 points added to their licence, but there is no penalty for going hands-free. This is in spite of the research results finding there to be very little difference in risk level between the two.

An earlier study, conducted in 2012 by Leeds University actually suggested eating was MORE dangerous than talking on a mobile device. Those eating posted a reaction time of up to 44% slower than those who were not. Drivers were also significantly more likely to be responsible for poor lane control which could distract or be a danger to other road users.

With these figures in mind, it is important to make people aware of the harm involved. A taxi driver or someone carrying out longer commutes in a company car is more likely to need food when driving than the average car user.

On the high level of accidents on Britain’s roads, Paul Jones of Lytx said: ‘The majority of these incidents are due to human error and are avoidable. We’re dedicated to using our technology to measurably reduce the risk that is happening on our roads every day.’


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