Oak Park might ban eating while driving

October 13, 2011

Kate Dries and Jennifer Brandel

(AP/Tony Talbot)
If this man was also brushing his hair, he could be a triple-offender while driving in Oak Park, Illinois.

The Village of Oak Park is considering making it illegal to eat while driving. Village trustee Colette Lueck, who offered the idea at the end of a recent board meeting for the western suburb of Chicago, said the city is just exploring the idea right now.

"I don't think you're going to stop people from drinking water while driving, nor do I think you should," said Lueck. "But you know, having a cheeseburger that drips down your shirt and then you're looking at your shirt to see the spot, is a distraction."

The city is also considering making it illegal for drivers to use cell phones or perform activities like putting on makeup. A recent study by Texas A&M found that texting and driving makes drivers reaction times twice as slow.

"[We're] trying to figure out, what's a commonsense approach that's enforceable, but also really does offer some degree of protection," said Lueck.

Lueck said there's no timetable for the potential ordinance, but that it's likely to be brought up again at the start of 2012 after budget negotiations end, when Oak Park board members vote on new proposals.