Grabbing a mug or plastic cup filled with coffee might be the morning routine for many people around the globe, but drinking that cup of coffee could get you stopped by police. At least one Minnesota woman learned that drinking coffee while driving was illegal, reports KMSP-TV. Lindsey Krieger said that after she merged onto a highway and couldn’t yet reach a speed high enough to be considered speeding, she wondered why a police woman pulled her over. The St. Paul police officer reportedly asked Lindsey several times if she knew why she had been pulled over. When Krieger couldn’t guess why, the police woman admitted that she saw Lindsey take a sip of her coffee while driving — something the cop said was illegal.
Krieger thought that getting pulled over for drinking coffee while driving was a joke. But when she learned that the St. Paul cop was serious about it being illegal to take a sip of coffee while driving down I-94, Krieger called it a case of police overstepping their bounds and wasting taxpayer dollars by going after folks who are drinking coffee as they drive. Krieger ended up with a warning about the coffee and a ticket for not having on a seatbelt, but Krieger says she only took off her seatbelt after the cop pulled her over — perhaps in anticipation of having to leave her car.
“I was completely dumbfounded. I thought it was a joke!”
However, authorities say that drinking coffee while driving might not be a joke, especially if it distracts the driver from performing the job at hand: namely, concentrating on driving. Piping hot coffee could spill onto the driver and cause a distraction. Besides texting and driving, police officers report that distracted driving due to eating and drinking also pose threats to drivers on the road.
“It’s against the law to drink coffee while you’re driving.”
Krieger was like many members of the public who had no idea that sipping from a cup of their morning coffee could earn them a ticket — as long as the authorities feel it is an action that’s causing the driver to be distracted from the road. Sgt. Mike Ernster of the St. Paul Police Department didn’t make specific comments about Lindsey’s case, but he did note that inattentive driving could include any measure of actions that force the driver’s attention away from driving properly — which could include coffee drinking, if it’s distracting to the driver.
Lindsey’s ex-husband called it police harassment for his ex-wife to get stopped for drinking a cup of coffee while driving, and said that not being able to drink a cup of coffee while driving would make for a bad road trip. No doubt plenty of Starbucks lovers agree with him, and couldn’t imagine going without drinking a cup of coffee while they drive.
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