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Dashboard Dining – Careless Driving?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Dashboard Dining – Careless Driving?

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
August 31, 2007


This morning I was driving on Algonquin Road and noticed a woman driving in the lane next to mine. When I looked over the first time, while our vehicles were moving at 40-45MPH, she was holding a styrofoam platter (McDonald’s type) with her left hand and a fork in her right hand. Pieces of pancakes were falling from the fork toward her lap.

I’m thinking, “Who is driving the car?” The problem, of course, was what if she needs to steer the car while her hands are full with the platter and fork? Is this careless driving? Is it reckless driving? Probably not “reckless”, but certainly careless.

I was ready to take evasive action if necessary. At least she wasn’t holding a large cup of super-hot coffee from Mickey D’s.

I slowed down to get her license plate (LV PATT 3), hoping we’d come upon a local cop. Luck was with her; we didn’t. She either finished her breakfast and put it down until she either arrived at her destination or was out-of-sight.

Are people really in such a hurry that they must eat while driving to work? This ranks right up there with men who shave, women who apply make-up, drivers who text-message and use handheld cell phones, read newspapers and books while driving. Think I’m kidding?

Several years ago (now that I think of it, it was June 1999, because I know where I was just before it happened), a police officer in a squad car passed me on Route 72 while I driving to my j-o-b at the Sears headquarters in Hoffman Estates. I had seen him coming up behind me in the passing lane. As he went by, he lifted the newspaper from the steering wheel, folded it to the next page, snapped it flat, and placed it back on top of the steering wheel and continued reading. You’d better believe I was on the phone with his chief about five minutes later!

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