We've all been there. After picking up food at your favorite fast-food drive-thru you immediately rifle through the bag to get at the delicious, hot goods. Ah, that first taste, is so satisfying. Thus the question:

Is it legal to eat while driving in Washington?

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I would imagine it is. Drive-thru windows are available at just about all fast-food restaurants. What about all the coffee places? Those drive-thru lines are insane!

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Heck, I bet most sales are made through drive-up traffic. And anyone who's on a schedule to make good time to reach their destination uses the drive-thru and consumes their meal on the road.

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After investigating, here's what we found:

There are NO specific rules when it comes to eating while driving in Washington. However, drivers can receive a hefty fine if doing so distracts them or affects their control, affecting car safety. You can indeed enjoy your hot coffee and eat your meal while driving in Washington.

However, there are laws against unsafe driving that could come into play if you are driving erratically or if eating while driving leads to an accident or an injury.

WA's Distracted Driving Law went into effect in 2017

The law bans cellphone use. It does NOT ban eating in your vehicle. However, officers are allowed to cite a driver if their actions are deemed as distracted driving. Eating, grooming, reading, and smoking when operating a vehicle could result in a ticket if the activity is the cause of unsafe driving and if the driver is pulled over for another offense, such as speeding, or erratic driving.

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So, think twice before you attempt to open the ketchup packet to dip your fries in.

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Washington's Distracted Driving law is explained in the video below from the WA Traffic Safety Commission.

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