Eating while driving is a significant cause of traffic accidents. Most people admit to doing it, and it’s dangerous behavior. But is it illegal to eat a tasty cheeseburger or enjoy a snack while you drive? Is it illegal to eat and drive in the State of Nevada? What charges can you face if you eat and drive in Nevada? Our Nevada car accident attorneys explain.

Eating While Driving

Is It Illegal to Eat and Drive in Nevada?

It is illegal to eat and drive in Nevada because nearly all counties and municipalities prohibit distracted driving. The police and the courts view eating as an example of distracted or careless driving. While there isn’t a statewide law prohibiting eating while driving, there is a statewide law for reckless driving.

In extreme circumstances, eating while driving could be seen as reckless driving. Some local distracted driving laws are county-wide. For example, local ordinance 14.60.190 for driving without giving full time and attention to the activity is enforceable throughout Clark County.[1] It is illegal to eat and drive in Nevada because nearly all localities have a law that prohibits distracted driving.

Can You Eat and Drive in Nevada?

No, you cannot eat and drive in Nevada. Nevada does not have a specific law that prohibits eating while driving. However, local laws prohibit distracted driving. Eating while driving is a form of distracted driving.

In addition, if an accident occurs, eating while driving may be a sign of negligence, which may make you legally liable for the accident. While Nevada doesn’t have an eating while driving law, you can’t eat while driving in Nevada because of careless driving laws and rules for civil accident liability.

Eating and Driving Illegal

Eating and driving is illegal for practical purposes. Even if a state doesn’t have a law on the books, all states have laws that prohibit reckless driving. Most states or municipalities also have laws that prohibit careless driving. While most states actually don’t have specific eating and driving laws, the ways that careless driving laws are enforced make eating and driving illegal for all intents and purposes.

Is There an Eating and Driving Law in Nevada?

No eating and driving law applies throughout the State of Nevada. There is no law on the books that prohibits eating while driving. There is also not a statewide law that prohibits careless driving. Many states have a statewide careless driving law, but the State of Nevada does not. If you eat and drive, there is no statewide citation that the police can give you.

However, that doesn’t mean that you’re free to eat that Whopper while you drive down the street. There are other laws that apply to prohibit and penalize eating while driving. Nearly all cities and counties in Nevada have laws that prohibit careless driving. These locations have local enforcement of eating while driving under their local municipal laws.

Las Vegas Eating While Driving; Clark County Code Section 14.60.190

For example, in Las Vegas, eating while driving is enforced under Clark County Code section 14.60.190. The law says that a driver may receive a ticket if they operate a motor vehicle without giving full time and attention to the operation of a motor vehicle. The offense is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of six months in jail and $1,000 in fines. Eating while driving is typically enforced under this ordinance in Las Vegas and Clark County.

Of course, the enforcement of Clark County Code section 14.60.190 for eating while driving raises the question of whether eating while driving amounts to driving without giving full time and attention to the operation of a motor vehicle. The ordinance doesn’t clearly define what it means to provide full time attention to driving. However, in practice, the courts are going to side with the police and the municipal lawyers. The courts and the state attorneys believe that eating while driving amounts to driving without giving full time and attention to the operation of a motor vehicle. While you can try to defend the case on the definition of County Code 14.60.190, typically, courts sustain distracted driving charges for drivers who are eating.

Reno Eating While Driving; Reno Administrative Code Section 6.06.720

Reno also has a law that prohibits careless driving. Reno Administrative Code section 6.06.720 says that careless driving is driving in any careless manner or in a manner that is not careful and prudent with due regard for the traffic.[2] A driver who is caught eating and driving may receive a ticket for a violation of Reno Administrative Code section 6.06.720.

Car Accident Liability for Eating While Driving

Car accident liability for eating while driving should be a significant concern for anyone who eats behind the wheel. If you’re in an accident, the law evaluates the actions of each party to determine whose actions are negligent and how those actions contribute to the accident. In other words, the court looks at the actions of each party to determine if they behaved reasonably.

Usually, the courts and juries do not see eating while driving as reasonable behavior. When eating while driving causes an accident, the person responsible is likely at fault for the accident, at least in part. It’s always a fact-specific determination, and you should talk to an experienced attorney to determine where liability might fall in your specific case.

Nevada Attorneys for Eating While Driving Accidents

Our Nevada car accident lawyers can help you if you’re hurt in an accident. Negligence and comparative negligence are significant issues in any accident where eating while driving may be in question. Let our attorneys help you understand how the law applies to your case and what you need to do to pursue your case in the best possible way.

Call us today to speak with a member of our legal team. Your consultation is confidential, and there’s never a cost to talk to our team. Call us today.

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[1] Ord. 1239 § 1, 1990

[2] Ord. No. 6392, § 1, 2-10-16

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Adam S. Kutner

Adam S. Kutner Personal Injury Lawyer

With more than 31 years of experience fighting for victims of personal injury in the Las Vegas valley, Attorney Adam S. Kutner knows his way around the Nevada court system and how to get clients their settlement promptly and trouble-free.