Is it legal to eat whilst driving?

For instance during one particular day a motorist may feel like eating something or even having a drink whilst behind the wheel of their, however it may not be clear to them whether they can even do this legally and they are taking an unnecessary risk.

Over the past few years alone there have been various news reports where drivers have received fines and as many as six penalty points for doing various acts whilst driving, including eating.

In the UK a motorist has previously been given a large fine for eating an apple whilst driving and even for eating a Kit Kat whilst behind the wheel.

The truth of the matter is that each example of eating whilst driving can be judged differently as individual cases.

Currently there are strictly no motoring laws in the UK which prohibit you from eating whilst driving a vehicle, or even drinking or smoking.

However, eating anything whilst driving can cause you break a motoring law which prohibits drivers from driving without due care and attention.

The Highway Code states that safe driving and riding needs concentration. It is therefore advised that whilst driving that you avoid acts such as eating, drinking or smoking. Other things are discouraged as well including trying to read maps, inserting a CD or cassette tape or tuning a radio, or playing loud music.

Ultimately, if a police officer sees you driving whilst eating at the same time they can make a judgement on whether you’re still in control of the vehicle.

If the police see you eating whilst driving and judges that you are not in fact maintaining full concentrated control of your vehicle, then you can be pulled over and charged with an act of careless driving.

This will not just depend on what exactly you are eating at the time, but more on how you’re driving on the road. Any wayward manoeuvres for instance while driving on the road and eating would strongly suggest that you shouldn’t be doing both acts at the same time to begin with.

If you happen to be involved in a road accident whilst driving and it is established you were eating at the time of a collision, then this factor can count against you and easily result in you being held fully responsible and face further repercussions.

A punishment for failing to adhere to the standard attention requirements whilst driving can lead to a fine up to £5,000 or even six months in prison. In a particularly bad case in which careless driving caused by eating leads to death by dangerous driving, a prison sentence of up to 14 years can be carried out.

Overall then its best to consider that even if becomes tempting to eat whilst driving your vehicle, it is highly advisable to resist any urge and wait until a later time when you’re not on the road.

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