Chicago Suburb Considering Outlawing Cardinal Diet Sin: Eating And Driving - BlissTree

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Along with "take small bites" and "drink tons of water while eating", "don't eat while distracted" is one of those age-old diet tips that sits in the back of food-conscious women (and becomes a hard-and-fast rule for those with disordered eating) minds'. But folks living in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, don't have to worry about whether or not to follow the latter diet law–since a form of it may be actual law, soon. Oak Park, a 4.5-mile village, may soon be banning eating while driving.

Officials in many of Oak Park's neighboring suburbs have all been trying to cut down on "distracted driving" with laws like those which ban texting or talking on the phone while behind the wheel, as well as a blanket law in nearby Highland Park, which allows officers to cite drivers for "inattentive driving", which includes eating and "grooming." And they're not alone–with the prevalence of hand-held devices, including tablet computers and smart phones, which put the internet right at your fingers, distracted driving has become a huge concern among law enforcement and health officials alike.

According to, which is an actual website that the government created to curb distracted driving, 20% of crashes which resulted in injury in 2009 reported involved some form of distraction, including eating, and around 5,474 people were reportedly killed in distracted accidents. Which is about 10% of the population of Oak Park.

Driving while distracted is obviously a health concern in and of itself–because, you know, getting into a car accident isn't ideal for your health–but so is eating while driving, which almost always indicates eating fast food, from a drive-through window, while sedentary. And it indicates a larger issue of Americans tending to be too busy to get out of their cars to eat, let alone find actual healthy food to eat.

Eating and driving may seem petty, but it's a one-two punch of risky behavior. And it's likely that, if Oak Park passes this ordinance, many others will follow suit, forcing people out of their cars and, hopefully, into a less distracted, more diet-friendly eating environment.

Image: Martin Novak / Shutterstock

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14 Oct, 2011

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