Is Drinking Coffee While Driving Illegal?
A Minnesota woman has made headlines by what she describes as an example of police overreach. The authorities claim it is a case of distracted driving. The issue at hand: drinking coffee while behind the wheel.
Lindsey Krieger told Minneapolis-St. Paul’s Fox 9 she was pulled over on Monday morning by a St. Paul police officer. “She was like, ‘Do you know what you were doing wrong? Do you know why you were pulled over?’” Krieger quoted the officer as saying. “I said, ‘no I have no idea what you’re talking about.' And finally after asking me a few more times she says, ‘Drinking coffee. It’s against the law to drink coffee while you’re driving.'” Needless to say, Krieger described herself as “completely dumbfounded.”
Though unwilling to speak about Krieger’s case specifically, St. Paul PD’s Sergeant Mike Ernster laid out how he sees the law: “Inattentive driving relates to anything that takes your attention away from those obligations of every driver, which is to pay attention.” Joe Cummings, who is with Minnesotans for Safe Driving, laid out an equally valid point: “Every car you drive in has cup holders in it.”
In the end, the police officer in question only gave Krieger a warning for her blatant coffee consumption. However, the officer did issue Krieger a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt, which Krieger claims she only took off after being pulled over. According to an update to the story by Fox 9, the State Patrol now claims the seatbelt violation is why Krieger was pulled over to begin with.
Whether that’s just the authorities trying to appease a nation of outraged beverage drinkers is up for debate. Maybe we can discuss it over a cup of coffee at a local coffee shop? Or better yet, on your own private property where the cops will need a warrant to judge your coffee habits.