Many New Yorkers have done this while driving: pulling into the Dunkin' Donuts drive-thru for coffee or a bagel on the way to work. Perhaps between seeing clients around lunchtime, workers grab a to-go order from a fast-food restaurant.
Sometimes, when the kids asked for chicken nuggets for dinner, you can't resist reaching into the bag and fishing for the fries that fell to the bottom.
But what happens when the lid comes off the coffee and you're doused in steaming hot liquid? Or the grease drips on your favorite shirt and you to try to wipe it off and take a hand off the steering wheel? Looking inside the bag for the leftover fries could cause you to plow into the rear of the car in front of you. All can be recipes for disaster.
A study by Lytx, a video-safety company for vehicles, showed that drivers who are distracted by food or beverages are 3.6 times more likely to get into a collision than motorists who aren't distracted. That's almost as high as the accident rate of 4.6 percent for drivers using smartphones or other electronics without hands-free devices.
All it takes is just a split second – way less time than it takes to open a ketchup packet – off averting your eyes from the road to cause a catastrophic accident. Innocent pedestrians or motorists can suffer life-threatening injuries or worse due to your inattention.
Texting while driving is illegal in New York, but driving while eating isn't. But the study shows it is almost as deadly. If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in an accident with a distracted driver, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries.