Man Cited For Eating a Cheeseburger While Driving

lthough it is not specifically against the law in Marietta to eat while driving, Madison Turner was cited for eating a cheeseburger while driving on Canton Road in this city in Georgia after being stopped by a Cobb County police officer last week.

The man from Alabama claimed that the law enforcement “officer explained to me that he observed me eating a burger for 2 miles”, according to this article written by Rachel Stockman for WSB-TV Action News, which is broadcast on channel 2 in Atlanta. “He said specifically three times, you can’t just go down the road eating a hamburger.”

Turner is due to appear at state court at 8:30 in the morning on February 3, 2015 in Marietta to respond to the charge of Driver Exercise Due Care — along with the remark eating while driving — otherwise known as distracted driving, for which a law exists in the state of Georgia under Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-241, which states:

A driver shall exercise due care in operating a motor vehicle on the highways of this state and shall not engage in any actions which shall distract such driver from the safe operation of such vehicle, provided that, except as prohibited by Code Sections 40-6-241.1 and 40-6-241.2, the proper use of a radio, citizens band radio, mobile telephone, or amateur or ham radio shall not be a violation of this Code section.

The distracted driving law carries a penalty of three points on the driver’s license of the offender, as well as a fine.

Interestingly, the very first paragraph of this article found at the official Internet web site of the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety states:

From cell phones and iPods to fast-food snacks and driver drowsiness, there are more than enough distractions to keep Georgia motorists from focusing on our four-lanes.

However, it also states the following:

It doesn’t take a highway safety scientist to predict that cell phone use is the most common driving distraction of emerging 21st century technology.

I was driving in the left lane on an interstate highway last night, having just finished passing a car. In front of me was a driver who was moving at a rate of speed considerably slower than the maximum speed limit. This would not be a problem if cars in the lanes to the right were moving even slower; but they were passing this particular car. I had to switch to a lane to the right to pass this car; and sure enough, its driver was busy chatting on a mobile telephone.

An even worse distraction which can be deadly is “texting” while driving, which became a violation of the law in the state of Georgia effective as of July 1, 2010. According to this article posted at the official Internet web site of the United States government pertaining to distracted driving, “…because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.”

Here are a couple of the very interesting statistics listed here:

Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded.

At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010. 

One might argue that the police officers in Cobb County should be concentrating their efforts on those drivers who use portable electronic devices while driving rather than those who eat while driving.

What if a person is eating while driving a car with a manual transmission, which requires the use of a shifter with one hand and control of the steering wheel with the other hand? Someone might argue that if a driver can shift with one hand while controlling a steering wheel with the other hand, then one could therefore eat a cheeseburger with one hand while controlling a steering wheel with the other hand in a vehicle equipped with an automatic transmission — right? What about drinking a soft drink from a cup with a straw — would that also be a violation of distracted driving laws in any state, let alone Georgia?

It is at that point where the practicality of the distracted driving laws could become murky.

The lesson here is for drivers to always concentrate on what they are doing while driving in order to remain focused without distractions while maximizing safety for themselves and for others…

…but do you agree that Madison Turner should have been cited by police for eating a double quarter pounder with cheese from McDonald’s while driving?

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Photograph courtesy of WSB-TV Action News in Atlanta.

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