Drivers warned of huge £5,000 fines for snacking while driving – ‘It’s logical stuff!’

What changes are being made to the Highway Code?

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While there is no specific law that prevents motorists from eating while driving, drivers may be prosecuted for careless driving if they are not in proper control of the vehicle. Careless driving is an offence that currently carries a fine of £100 and three penalty points.

And in more serious cases, or those that are contested in court, the charge can attract a maximum £5,000 fine.

On top of that, drivers could receive up to nine penalty points and even a court-imposed driving ban.

Seb Goldin, the CEO of RED Driving School, previously told ”It’s good to reinforce that people should not be distracted while driving.

“If you are driving a vehicle it’s your responsibility to drive it as safe as possible.

“People can get distracted while eating or drinking something cold.

“The classic example that escapes people’s memories in terms of fines when you’re driving a vehicle is eating or drinking something.

“You might think it’s safe to drive while holding an apple or a banana in your hand but you could potentially get a fine if it was deemed that by doing so you weren’t in full and safe control of the vehicle.

“It’s just logical stuff really.”

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Rule 148 of the Highway Code states that “safe driving and riding needs concentration”.

It adds: “Avoid distractions when driving or riding such as eating and drinking.”

Police have warned that even a short lapse in concentration can have serious consequences for road users.

A 2012 study by the University of Leeds also suggested that the reaction times of motorists who were eating were up to 44 percent slower than usual.

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Motorists who used their phones to send text messages were 37.4 percent slower to react, a hands-free mobile conversation slowed reaction times by 26.5 percent.

When sipping a drink, responses were up to 22 percent slower (drivers were 18 percent more likely to experience poor lane control).

Those over the alcohol limit were 12.5 percent slower.

Professor Samantha Jamson, from the University of Leeds, commented: “It is accepted that the distraction of talking on a hand-held mobile phone may increase accident risk.

“However, other activities that involve taking one hand off the wheel, such as eating or drinking, may also cause distraction.

“Drivers take their eyes off the road in order to reach for or unwrap items.”

Mr Goldin also highlighted the need for drivers to wear appropriate footwear.

The expert said: “Every driver should know that they need to wear appropriate footwear which is as safe as it can be when they drive.

“That means when you come off the beach and you’re wearing a pair of flip flops you should change them.

“They are shoes that could mean you can’t control a vehicle as best as you could if you had shoes that didn’t flip off your ankle.”

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