By Arab News
Saudi Arabia’s Traffic Directorate has announced this it will fine people SR150 (about $40) who are caught eating or drinking beverages while driving.
The Makkah daily quoted traffic authorities as saying that eating and drinking behind the steering wheel were, alongside the use of cell phones, among the violations in the category of the driver’s preoccupation with other matters that distract focus on the road.
Traffic authorities have, in the past, launched awareness campaigns to draw people’s attention toward dangers of getting distracted while driving.
Despite deadly accidents because of such distracting activities, many drivers have not changed their ways.
According to studies, drivers lose up to 40 percent of their attention when they eat or drink and have serious issues keeping their vehicles moving straight.
Those who eat and drive increase the odds of an accident by 80 percent, said a study done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, released this year.
The study found out that 65 percent of near-miss accidents were caused by distracted drivers.
The figures indicate that eating or drinking while driving is more dangerous than texting.
Coffee, says the study, tops the list of the most dangerous foods and beverages.
Meanwhile, the traffic authorities have stopped the Basher system to record traffic violations. Maj. Abdullah bin Hassan Al-Zahrani, director of the Traffic Department, has notified all traffic departments in the Kingdom to stop the Basher system. This system recorded traffic violations with an electronic system to accelerate procedures.