You see it all the time. You are driving down the road or the 90 and the car next to starts swerving and you notice the driver doing this one thing.

They are biting into a big ole cheeseburger. How many times has this happened? Someone is not paying attention while driving because they are eating something or drinking something.

So can you get a ticket for eating while driving? Here in New York it all depends.

While there is no law on the books in New York that allows the police to write a ticket to someone for eating while driving, they can write a ticket for distracted driving.

The New York State DMV uses a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study to break down what is defined as distracted driving. These include:

  • Being engaged doing secondary tasks to driving
  • Driving while drowsy
  • Not paying attention to the roads
  • Anything that takes your eyes off the road

So if you are chowing down on a cheeseburger while you are behind the wheel and end up crossing the line or causing an accident, based on the guidelines stated above you could get ticketed for distracted driving.

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Eating while driving will fall under the "not paying attention to the roads" or "taking your eyes off the road".

So while it doesn't happen often, if your next cup of coffee or quick lunch leads to your eyes coming off the road, you could see the inside of a traffic court.

Here is what it will cost you if you are fined for being distracted in New York.

  • First Offense: $50-$200 fine.
  • Second Offense (Within 18 months): $50-$250 fine.
  • Third Offense (Within 18 months): $50-$450 fine.

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