Is Eating And Driving Dangerous?

I written numerous times about the dangers of texting and the use of hand held phones while driving. There is no doubt that texting and driving is not a good combination and the government has taken appropriate action to ban this practice. There is a new report out that suggests that people should not be eating and driving.  Hagerty Classic Insurance, prepared a study looking at eating and driving and prepared a list of the ten (10) most dangerous foods to eat while driving.

The list:

Coffee: It always finds a way out of the cup.

2. Hot soup: Many people drink it like coffee and run the same risks.

3. Tacos: “A food that can disassemble itself without much help, leaving your car looking like a salad bar,” says Hagerty.

4. Chili: The potential for drips and slops down the front of clothing is significant.

5. Hamburgers: From the grease of the burger to the ketchup and mustard on top, plenty of goop can end up on your hands, clothes and steering wheel.

6. Barbecued food: Similar issue arises for barbecued foods as for hamburgers. The sauce may be great, but it will end up on whatever you touch.

7. Fried chicken: Another food that leaves you with greasy hands, which means constantly wiping them on something, even if it’s your shirt. It also makes the steering wheel greasy.

8. Jelly- or cream-filled doughnuts: Has anyone ever eaten a jelly doughnut without some of the center oozing out? And jelly can be difficult to remove from material.

9. Soft drinks: Not only are they subject to spills, but they also can fizz as you’re drinking them if you make sudden movements. Most of us have childhood memories of soda fizz in the nose; the sensation isn’t any more pleasant now.

10. Chocolate: Like greasy foods, chocolate can coat your fingers as it melts against the warmth of your skin, leaving its mark anywhere you touch. Try to clean it off the steering wheel and you could end up unintentionally swerving.

The study provided the following tips to help you avoid eating and driving:

  • Leave a bit earlier to allow yourself time to stop and eat.


  • If you’re traveling with someone, take turns eating and driving.


Other tips for driving safely:

  • Keep your eyes on the road.


  • Review maps before hitting the road.


  • Do your personal grooming at home.


  • Use the memory dial feature on your cell phone whenever possible.


  • Keep your hands on the wheel.


  • Preset your radio stations.


  • Don’t try to retrieve items that fall to the floor.


  • Avoid smoking, eating and drinking while driving.


  • Avoid taking calls while driving.


  • Teach your children the importance of good behavior in cars.


  • Keep your mind on the ride.


  • Ask a passenger to serve as your “co-pilot.”


  • Avoid stressful/emotional/confrontational conversations either with a passenger or on your cell phone.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.

Chicago Area Police Departments Endorse Red Light Camera

I have written about the effectiveness of red light cameras here and here. Studies to date have shown mixed results as to their effectiveness.

In a March 12 letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune, fourteen Chicago area police chiefs endorsed the use of red light cameras in their towns’ intersections.  The letter points to a number of statistics in supporting their cause for these types of cameras. Specifically they cite  recent U.S. Federal Highway Administration study also found red-light camera intersections to have shown a 24.7% decrease nationwide in “right-angle”  car crashes or “broadside”  auto collisions which are particularly dangerous.

The police chiefs also argued that the cameras helped apprehend a “hit and run” suspect in Chicago. It is clear where local police departments stand on this issue. I would like to see more studies performed before making a determination.

To read the complete letter, click here.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.

2009 A Record Low For Traffic Fatalities In The U.S.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration  (NHSTA) released some encouraging news this week. Their press release announced that 2009 was a record low traffic fatalities in the U.S. It was the lowest number of fatalities since 1954 and was the 15th year in a row that showed a decline.

The projected fatality data for 2009 places the highway death count at 33,963, a drop of 8.9 percent as compared to the 37,261 deaths reported in 2008. The fatality rate for 2009 declined to the lowest on record, to 1.16 fatalities per 100 million Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) down from 1.25 fatalities per 100 million VMT in 2008.

“This continuing decline in highway deaths is encouraging, but our work is far from over,” said National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland. “We want to see those numbers drop further. We will not stop as long as there are still lives lost on our nation’s highways. We must continue our efforts to ensure seat belts are always used and stay focused on reducing distracted and impaired driving.”

Did the decrease have to do with the recession?  The NHSTA believes it was a combination of factors, including the safety campaigns it instituted the last several years. They attribute the decline in 2009 to a combination of factors that include, high visibility campaigns like Click It or Ticket to increase seat belt use, and Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest which helps with the enforcement of state laws to prevent drunk driving and distracted driving. In addition, the decline is also the result of safer roads, safer vehicles and motorists driving less.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call attorney Aaron Bryant for free consultation on your case at 312-588-3384.

Evanston Enacts Cell Phone Ban While Driving

The Evanston, Illinois city council adds to growing list of government entities restricting the use of cell phones while driving. The ordinance went into effect yesterday, which bans the use of cell phones while driving and also bans texting while driving, web browsing, reading and sending electronic messages, and listening to voicemail messages while driving.

There is obviously a growing trend in Illinois as a statewide ban on texting while driving became effective on January 1.

The ordinance allows the use of cell phones only if the driver is using a hands-free device. Each violation carries a $50 fine. If someone is involved in an auto accident while using a hand-held phone, the fine shoots up to a maximum of $200.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accident or a Chicago truck accident, then call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.

AT&T Launches Campaign Against Texting And Driving

Following suit of various states (including Illinois) and the federal government, AT&T, is launching an initiative to curb texting and driving.

AT&T’s “Txtng & Drivng … It Can Wait” campaign features parents of young texting-and-driving victims and the final text messages the young drivers received just before they died. The campaign’s theme: “No text is worth dying over.”

The campaign, which will include advertising in 72 shopping malls, also features an online resource center,, where educators, parents and teens can download information about texting while driving and sign a pledge not to do it. AT&T also has launched a Facebook application, at

Dallas-based AT&T, which serves about 85 million wireless customers, is the second communications company to enter the fray against texting while driving. Verizon Wireless launched its national “Don’t Text and Drive” campaign last year.

The campaign comes as the movement against texting while driving nears critical mass. At least 23 states this year have considered bans on texting while driving; 10 of them restrict texting by novice drivers. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia prohibit texting while driving for all drivers, the Governors Highway Safety Association says.

It will be interesting to see whether this campaign will be effective or not. Texting and driving is clearly showing to be a very dangerous activity. Click here to read the entire article from USA Today.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384. 

A Third Of Cook County Fatalities Linked To Drunk Drivers

The Chicago Sun Times recently released  car accident fatality statistics , which showed that from 1994 to 2008, one third  of all  Cook County car accident fatalities were related to drunk driving. The analysis was performed by Scripps Howard New Services.

As part of the project, Scripps Howard researchers counted the number of deaths on every road in America, using data provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Scripps analyzed 562,712 fatal accidents from 1994 to 2008 that claimed 627,433 lives.

While the carnage has fallen in recent years — 37,261 individuals died in vehicular accidents in 2008 — that’s still more than 10 times the number who died in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Most of the traffic fatalities can be attributed to excessive speed, alcohol-impairment or failure to wear seat belts. Drivers distracted while texting, eating or using their cell phones are also a growing concern.

“People may feel more comfortable drinking and driving in rural areas, thinking that they are not as likely to get caught as on major roads,” concluded Lee Munnich, director of the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety at the University of Minnesota.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident or have been charged with a DUI or other traffic violation, then call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.

NHSTA Issues Probe Into Recent Toyota Recalls

The National Highway Safety and Transportation Administration announced that they are issuing a probe into three (3) of the most recent Toyota recalls.  They are requesting documents from Toyota to determine if they made the most recent recalls in a timely manner.

 “Safety recalls are very serious matters and automakers are required to quickly report defects,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

The auto safety agency is requiring Toyota to provide documents showing when and how it learned of the defects affecting approximately 6 million vehicles in the U.S. alone. The probe will examine how the manufacturer learned of these defects, such as through consumer complaints or factory testing. Investigators are also looking into whether Toyota discovered the problems during pre-production or post-production of the affected vehicles.

Officials are checking whether Toyota has covered all affected models in its recent recalls to ensure Toyota did not miss any problems. The agency will obtain information on production data, incidents, complaints, warranty complaints, copies of tests, dates of meetings, timeliness, and supplier information.

The three recalls in question involve various Toyota and Lexus vehicles. Two of the recalls are related to the entrapment of gas pedals by floor mats. The first recall was announced on September 26, 2007, and was followed by a subsequent one on October 6, 2009. The October recall was expanded on January 29, 2010, to include additional vehicles. The third recall, involving sticking gas pedals, was announced on January 21, 2010. “Our top priority is safety and we expect that all manufacturers address automotive safety issues quickly and in a forthright manner,” said David Strickland, Administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.