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Can you get a ticket for eating while driving?

Under Ontario’s ban on hand-held devices while driving, which took effect in October 2009, it’s illegal for drivers to talk, text, type, dial or email using hand-held phones and other communications and entertainment devices. It also prohibits drivers from viewing display screens unrelated to the driving task, such as laptops or DVD players, while driving. The use of hands-free devices is still permitted, and drivers may use hand-held devices to call 9-1-1.

Eating in car

Eating in car

“Hands-free” use means that apart from activating or deactivating the device, it is not held during use and the driver is not physically interacting with or manipulating it. Actions such as dialing or scrolling through contacts, or manually programming a GPS device, for example, are not allowed.

Drivers who endanger others because of any distraction including food, hand-held and hands-free devices may be charged with careless driving and, upon conviction, will automatically receive six demerit points, fines up to $2,000 and/or a jail term of six months. In some cases, your license may be suspended for up to two years.

You may even be charged criminally with dangerous driving and could face up to a $2,000 fine and jail terms of up to five years.

While eating or drinking non-alcoholic beverages while driving isn’t specifically prohibited, common sense should prevail. Besides distracting you from the driving task, you’re less able to make emergency evasive maneuvers to avoid a crash if you’ve got a messy hamburger occupying one hand, for example.

When a serious car accident impacts your life, or takes the life of your loved one, contact our lawyers. We offer a free, one-hour consultation to discuss the particulars of your accident and how we can help maximize your compensation.