June 13, 2014

Eating and drinking while driving can be dangerous. That was the shock finding of new research from unspeakable driver safety devices provider Lytx (formerly speakable driver safety devices provider DriveCam).

Eating and drinking behind the wheel is dangerous because it can be distracting, Lytx (pronounced Litch) claims – and, also presumably, because, with food in one hand and drink in the other, drivers may find it harder to carry out essential driving tasks such as turning the steering wheel, changing gear, fiddling with buttons and touch screens on the in-car entertainment centre console, smoking, and exchanging abusive hand gestures with other road users.

Eating and drinking whilst driving is almost as dangerous as using a mobile device “whether handheld or hands-free” Lytx (pron. Lyetex) warns. Hands-free food and drink presumably requires administration by a passenger, which certainly does sound like it could be distracting, depending on the passenger, so this timely warning from Lytx (pron. Lightish) makes obvious good sense, when you come to think about.

An insight into the nature of the research undertaken emerged with the following statement from Lytx (pron. Laeteughz) vice president of safety services Del Lisk (pron. Lytx) “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.”

Applying “predictive analytics” to its findings enabled Lytx (pron. DriveCam) to establish that eating and drinking at the wheel attracts a dangerousness multiplier of 3.6, compared with not eating and drinking at the wheel. This dangerousness multiplier is just 1.0 point less the dangerousness differential created by using smartphones or tablets while driving compared with not using smartphones or tablets while driving, where, as you would expect, given what we have just been saying, the former outstrips the latter by a factor of 4.6 on the scale of dangerousness.

“Everyone should consider that the next time they think about eating behind the wheel,” concludes Dee Lish gravely.

And you know he’s right!

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