The PJ Tatler

Nanny State Gone Wild: Police Ticket Man for Driving While Eating a Burger

You’d better think twice after leaving that drive-thru window with a juicy cheeseburger, especially if you plan to eat it while you drive home.

Madison Turner was enjoying a double quarter-pounder with cheese as he drove along the highway when he was stopped by an officer for violating Georgia’s distracted driver law.

(In all fairness, he’s lucky he wasn’t shot.)

Turner told WSB-TV the ticketing officer scolded him: “You can’t just go down the road eating a hamburger.”  The officer informed him that he had been eating the burger for approximately two miles.  The ticket issued stated Turner was “driving while eating.”


“Maybe I was enjoying the burger too much; I needed to tone it down. I was certainly willing to do so, but I didn’t expect to be fined or punished.”

The Cobb County police had no comment on the case.

Georgia’s “distracted driver law” does not mention food, it only says drivers cannot engage in distractions while they are operating a vehicle.

That law reads, in part: “A driver shall exercise due care in operating a motor vehicle on the highways of this state and shall not engage in any actions which shall distract such driver from the safe operation of such vehicle.”

William Head, a traffic lawyer said he had never seen a case like this.

“If this was the law, I’d have to hire more attorneys because everybody does it including me,” said Head, a longtime traffic and DUI attorney, who is not representing Turner. “I’ve only seen something like this charge when there’s an accident. There was no accident here, so the fact that this man was charged with eating and driving is a first for me.”

He went on to say, “Maybe if you had a giant pizza in both hands and you weren’t holding the wheel, or maybe if you had a watermelon – half watermelon – and you were just diving into it holding it with both hands, maybe that would be something.”

This fiasco sounds like a revenue generating operation to me.