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Does a Fast Food Restaurant Drive-Thru Promote Fulton County Car Accidents?

May 24, 2014

While most Fulton County drivers are aware of the serious danger posed by the use of cell phones when driving, there are fewer motorists that are aware of a potentially more serious distracted driving risk – eating while driving. Because of the sheer volume of fast-food drive-thru restaurants, the frequency of driving while consuming food or drinking beverages may exceed cell phone use while driving.

A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that eighty percent of all motor vehicle accidents, including those involving cars, tractor-trailers and motorcycles, as well as 65 percent of near misses are caused by drivers more focused on food and beverages than the road. A separate study conducted by ExxonMobil Corp. confirmed that the practice of eating and driving behind the wheel is widely practiced by motorists with seventy percent of drivers admitting to driving while eating, and 83 percent conceding that they drink beverages while driving.

The risk posed by this form of distracted driving is particularly dangerous because eating and drinking while driving constitutes a multi-faceted form of distraction – manual, visual and mental. When a motorist is trying to hold a burger or drink, the driver must remove his or her hands from the steering wheel. Drivers also avert their eyes from the road when unwrapping or wrapping food so that it can be eaten without sauces or condiments dripping into the driver's lap. The potential danger is especially serious when a hot beverage like coffee spills into a motorist's lap or food spills making a mess. The driver's eyes may leave the road, and both the driver's mind and hands may be involved in cleaning up a mess or dealing with a spill.

The NHTSA survey indicates the types of foods and beverages that create the greatest risk of causing an auto accident:

  • Hot Beverages and Liquids: When drivers proceed through the drive-thru or consume other hot beverages or soups, these pose a particularly dangerous driving hazard because they can spill and cause severe burns. When a driver is severely burned by coffee that spills into the driver's lap, the driver typically will be distracted while dealing with the pain caused by the scalding liquid.
  • Messy Foods: Foods like tacos, sandwiches and pizza that are messy and fall apart easy often create messes that must be cleaned up promptly, which divert the driver's hands and eyes from the task of driving.
  • Drinks without Straws: When drinks lack straws, drivers may spill the drink onto their clothes and the interior of the vehicle. A sudden stop may also cause a motorist to choke on the drink.
  • Greasy and Salty Foods: These types of foods leave the driver's hands messy so that the driver may need to search the vehicle for a napkins or something else to clean the residue off the driver's hands. Greasy foods may also make a driver's hands slippery when trying to grip the steering wheel.

While most drivers now recognize that using cell phones and other electronic devices while driving substantially increase the risk of being involved in a traffic accident, eating and drinking behind the wheel is second nature for the majority of drivers. If you or your loved one is injured or a close family member dies in a collision caused by a distracted driver, our experienced Atlanta Auto Accident Attorneys at Montlick and Associates may be able to represent you in seeking compensation for your injuries or loss of a loved one.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 38 Years of Legal Experience to Work For You

Montlick and Associates has been representing distracted driving victims for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our Atlanta Auto Accident Attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Montlick Law

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Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.