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  • Writer's pictureAlex Maltese

Is It Illegal to Eat While Driving in New York?

Driving a car while eating is quite an obvious activity, especially in a hurry. Unfortunately, it is not something that is done regularly, yet it is enough to raise the question - is it illegal to eat while driving?

There has been a record of nearly 300,000 accidents reported every year in New York state, which makes it crucial for a driver to study and comply with traffic laws to avoid injury and severe accidents.

The Law Office of Carl Maltese is here to present an easy guide on the dangers of eating while driving and whether it is legal in NY.

What Is Distracted Driving?

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is a situation that involves the action of other activities which has influence over the primary activity or task - driving. Distracted driving can involve the following activities, to name a few:

  • Eating or drinking

  • Conversation

  • Daydreaming

  • Reading

  • Grooming

  • Adjusting the radio, AC, or GPS

However, these actions are completely legal; it does not guarantee complete safety. In addition, distracted driving can be hazardous as it may, as its name suggests, distract the driver and result in an accident.

Is Eating While Driving Illegal in New York?

Sneaking snacks while driving is the guilt of almost every driver, which has probably resulted in thinking about whether eating or drinking is legal. To clear the fog around the subject of legality, it is to be noted that it is completely legal to eat or drink while driving. There is no law existing that prohibits a driver from doing so.

However, distracted driving is an act of negligence that may result in the driver paying heftier fines.

Therefore, drivers should be aware that it is their responsibility to stay cautious while driving and maintain their focus because eating at the same time as driving can result in similar consequences to that using phones while driving.

Why Should Eating While Driving Be Deemed Illegal?

It is one of the most controversially ignored topics. Most people still favor getting distracted driving in the list of illegal activities. As much as texting while driving is given attention as a volatile issue and area of major concern, eating while driving has been reportedly ignored in the 21st century. This activity is as old as the invention of the automobile and is classified as ‘normal.’

While eating, drivers tend to forget they are driving, or in other cases, even a millisecond distraction could result in a crash or any hazardous consequence.

According to statistics reported, more than 80% of accidents in terms of distracted driving are due to the influence of eating or drinking while driving. Hence, it raises major issues of concern around safe and secure driving.

Who Is at Fault If an Accident Happens Because of Eating While Driving?

General rules under the safety traffic regulations state that a person driving should not tend to drive a car unless they are in full control of it. This points out that any activity that causes a person to lose control should not be done while they are driving. This majorly underlines all the activities under the Distracted Driving category.

As far as traffic laws are concerned, eating, or drinking while driving is completely legal, but it does not guarantee a no-accident provision. Hence, if an accident occurs because the driver indulged in drinking or eating, they will be liable for a lawsuit and be claimed as negligent. This can result in the driver paying a hefty amount as a fine or as compensation for contributing to an accident or causing injury.

The insurance company can also take this as an advantage, who, in order to pay less compensation, will try to put all the blame on the driver. Hence, it becomes necessary to seek legal advice from a professional and experienced car accident lawyer in Long Island NY. They are the best to consult in matters of driving laws, such as the legality of driving without a hood in New York and sleeping in your car in New York.


There is no end to discussing the severity and contribution of distracted driving in frequent accidents. Hence, it becomes important for drivers to stay completely updated about the driving rules and regulations to avoid being fined, proven guilty, or liable for a lawsuit. Numerous specialized law firms, such as the Law Office of Carl Maltese, are available and can help an individual in case of legal problems.


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