There have been news stories recently about drivers being charged with traffic offences while driving and eating in their car. For example: it was reported last year that a woman driver was charged for eating a bowl of cereal while driving. So is it legal to eat while you are driving?
The short answer is that it is legal to eat while you are driving.
However, if you are distracted from paying attention while eating in your vehicle then you can be charged under the “distracted driving” laws. This means that if your food requires you to lose focus then it will result in a penalty. For example: attempting to eat a cup of noodles with a fork and or spoon while driving would most likely fall under the category of distracted driving. Eating a takeaway hash brown only requires one hand and enables you to remain focused on driving so would not result in penalty.
Under the “distracted driving” legislation all drivers will be issued with the following penalty if found guilty:
- 3 demerit points and a $448 fine;
- 4 demerit points and a $561 fine if caught in a school zone.
It is also worth remembering that if you are distracted when driving by whatever you are eating and cause an accident you are also able to be charged with the offence of negligent driving.
Please note the answers provided are for your general information only and we ask you to call our office on 1800 650 656 to obtain detailed legal advice for your individual situation.
Alice Cheek | Criminal Law Solicitor