Is It Illegal to Eat While Driving in Oklahoma?
We've all been there, done that. Running short on the lunch break, swing by the drive-thru, and eat a quick bite on the way back to work. Burgers, tacos, chicken nuggies, etc... all seem purposely prepared to enjoy with one hand on the wheel, but is that legal?
I was cruising down Cache Road yesterday around lunchtime and noticed something you wouldn't expect to see every day. The woman in the car next to me was holding a salad in one hand, eating it with the other, and steering with her knee. Initially, I thought "Well that takes talent..." but I started to wonder how legal that was.
To my surprise, there are no laws against eating while driving a vehicle in the state of Oklahoma, but that's not actually an answer.
Like most states, while eating and driving isn't against the law, there's a larger and more generic rule written in the traffic code allowing law enforcement the opportunity for interpretation.
47 OK Stat § 47-11-901b
The law on the books is written as follows:
The operator of every vehicle, while driving, shall devote their
full time and attention to such driving.
While this addendum was added to the section covering reckless driving after a pair of OHP Troopers were struck by a driver that was texting at the time, it's all-encompassing.
While the intention of the law was to make texting and driving a primary offense, if you wander in your lane because you were enjoying your Whatachicken a little too much, an officer has the discretionary power to ticket you for distracted driving.
The same goes for any activity that could potentially distract you behind the wheel--doing makeup, drinking, smoking, refilling your vape, talking to your passengers--it's a ticketable offense.