Driving While Eating, Texting, and Who Knows What

We don't need laws, we need common sense

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By David Hammond

Driving while eating seems a bad idea, not only because it’s dangerous, but because you can’t really enjoy your food when you’re trying your best not to injure yourself or others while getting from A to B.  Years ago, I stopped at the now-shuttered La Piazza to buy some focaccia before driving downtown; it smelled so good, I had to stop on the shoulder of the Ike and eat one whole focaccia; I couldn’t focus on the food while driving. The driving was actually distracting me from the food, so I had to stop doing something, so I stopped driving.

I’m not sure a law against driving while eating is a good idea, but it’s clear that people are way too casual behind the wheel.

Last Wednesday, we were driving to Kendall College in Chicago. I’d just read the Wednesday Journal article about the brouhaha that erupted over a random comment made in a Village Board meeting about driving while eating in Oak Park.  As we moved north up Halsted to Kendall College, I saw a woman driving next to us, though “driving” is a term I’m probably using way too casually.  This wing-nut was checking her email while she negotiated two lanes of city traffic, in the wind and rain, with pedestrians fighting the elements to cross the streets during rush hour.

I had my camera, and I shot her (ASA 6400, no flash – didn’t want to distract her more).

I think we can all agree that this kind of loose, careless management of a motor vehicle is insane. Being distracted when behind the wheel is a very bad plan.  But how much distraction is too much?  There’s no doubt, driving while eating or texting or doing anything other than driving while driving is foolish.

Not saying we need a law, but there is clearly a need for common sense.

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