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Texting is hardly the only way that drivers lose focus. It may surprise you, but most people fail to recognize that they participate in distracted driving on a regular basis. Your daily cup of coffee can be a significant distraction that can hinder safe, attentive driving. And, while it may be one of the worst offenders, coffee is by no means the only food or drink distraction drivers should avoid.

A study done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded that those who eat and drive behind the wheel increase the odds of an accident by 80%! It also concluded that 65% of near miss accidents are caused by distracted drivers fussing with food or drinks. Despite these statistics, most of us are guilty.

A bus carrying 21 high school basketball students and six adults overturned on Interstate 65 after it was struck by a 2001 Kia passenger car, according to Indiana State Police. They reported that a 23-year-old Kia driver lost control and sideswiped the bus after spilling a drink on herself. The bus went off the road and overturned in a ditch. Fortunately, everyone escaped with non-life-threatening injuries. The bus was transporting the basketball team to a state semi-final game at the time of the accident.

While eating or drinking non-alcoholic beverages while driving isn’t specifically prohibited, common sense should prevail. How many times must we hear that taking your eyes, hands, and mind off the road for any reason is reckless and negligent behavior? It is time to stop ignoring the facts. As we approach April, Distracted Driving Awareness month, take time to focus on the choices you make behind the wheel. Make it your goal to increase awareness of what happens when drivers don’t give their full attention to the road. Distracted driving crashes are 100% preventable!

Mark Bello is the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company.

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