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Is It Illegal to Eat and Drive in Portland?


to eat on the go? While this may seem like a time-saving solution, it can be incredibly dangerous. Eating while driving is a form of distracted driving that can lead to serious car accidents. 

Despite its dangers, eating and driving is not explicitly illegal in Portland or anywhere else in Oregon. However, drivers should avoid doing this as it can distract them from the road, reduce their reaction time, and increase the risk of accidents.

Eating and Driving Is Distracted Driving

Distracted driving refers to any behavior that takes a driver away from the act of operating a motor vehicle. This behavior is dangerous and puts everyone on the road at risk of a serious accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,142 people died in distracted driving accidents in 2020 alone. 

There are four types of distracted driving: visual, auditory, manual, and cognitive.

  • Visual distraction occurs when a driver looks at something other than the road.
  • Auditory distraction is when a driver hears something not related to driving. 
  • Manual distraction involves handling something other than the steering wheel.
  • Cognitive distraction occurs when a driver is thinking about something other than driving.

Eating while driving is a visual, manual, and cognitive distraction. When drivers eat, they are taking their hands off the wheel, their eyes off the road, and their attention away from operating a vehicle. Eating requires a driver to multitask, which can reduce their reaction time and increase their chances of getting into an accident. 

Eating and Driving Is Not Explicitly Illegal in Oregon

While Oregon has laws related to distracted driving, eating while driving is not specifically prohibited by law. Oregon’s distracted driving laws are specifically related to mobile communication devices. It is illegal to compose, read, or send text messages or emails from a handheld device while driving. Using a handheld mobile communication device to talk or otherwise engage with it while driving is also illegal.

Technically, it is legal to eat or drink non-alcoholic beverages while driving in Oregon. However, just because it is not explicitly illegal, it doesn’t mean it is a good idea. Eating and drinking while driving can be just as distracting as other forms of distracted driving, such as texting and driving. It is best to avoid this activity to protect yourself and everyone else on the road.

What to Do If You Are Injured by a Distracted Driver

Not every driver on the road is careful, and unfortunately, distracted driving accidents can and do happen. If you are injured by a distracted driver, it’s important to take the appropriate steps to protect your legal rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

The first step to take if you are injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver is to seek medical attention for your injuries, even if they seem minor. It’s important to document your injuries and obtain medical records, as these will be crucial in any legal proceedings.

After seeking medical attention, you should contact a Portland injury attorney who specializes in car accident cases. A Portland car accident lawyer can help you navigate the legal system and hold the distracted driver accountable for his or her actions. As soon as possible following your accident, contact an attorney to discuss your case and plan your next steps.