“Maybe I was enjoying the burger too much I needed to tone it down”
Cobb County, Georgia – Alabama resident Madison Turner was recently pulled over and ticketed by police while driving through Georgia for “eating while driving,” but legal experts say that he wasn’t breaking any laws.
Turner ordered a double quarter pounder with cheese from McDonald’s last week, and began to eat it in the car as he was driving down Canton Road in Marietta, Georgia.
Turner was not breaking any traffic laws or driving erratically, so he was surprised to see the flashing red and blue lights of a police car in his rear-view mirror. When the officer approached the vehicle, he informed Turner that driving around and eating is unacceptable.
“The officer explained to me that he observed me eating a burger for 2 miles, he said specifically three times, you can’t just go down the road eating a hamburger. 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,” Turner said.
On the ticket, the officer cited turner under Georgia’s distracted driving law, which is written so vaguely that it is entirely up to the officer’s discretion to decide if a driver is distracted or not. In the comments section of the ticket, the officer wrote “eating while driving.”
The law says that “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.”
Local news affiliate WSBTV went to a legal expert in the area, for clarification on the loosely written law.
William Head, a longtime traffic and DUI attorney, who is not representing Turner, but is well versed in the area’s laws, said that “eating while driving” is not a crime.
“If this was the law, I’d have to hire more attorneys because everybody does it including me. 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. 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,” Head said.
Turner intends to fight the ticket when he appears in court on February 3rd.
John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work he is also the owner of a successful music promotion company. In 2013, he became one of the organizers of the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.