Oak Park Officials Consider Ban On Eating While Driving

10/12/2011 05:44 pm ET | Updated Dec 12, 2011

As cities are increasingly legislating against multitasking on the road, a Chicago suburb is considering a ban on eating behind the wheel.

Oak Park officials say they will consider adding an explicit ban on eating while driving when they revisit a local distracted driver ordinance related to texting behind the wheel, according to TribLocal.

A recent study into distracted driving by Texas A&M University's Texas Transportation Institute found that driving while multitasking can be even more hazardous than previous estimations.

"Essentially texting while driving doubles a driver's reaction time," Christine Yager, who led the study, told Reuters. "That makes a driver less able to respond to sudden roadway dangers."

The Transportation Institute study flashed a light at drivers and recorded their reaction time, Reuters reports. Drivers without distractions responded in one to two seconds on average, while texting drivers took three or four seconds to react and were 11 times more likely to miss the flashing light altogether.

An observational study conducted by Allstate Insurance Company of Canada recently found that eating or drinking was the most frequent distracted-driving offense, with 25 percent of all observed drivers simultaneously consuming food or beverages, the Red River Valley Echo reports. Talking on the phone or texting was the third most frequent occurrence, observed in 15 percent of drivers.