It also found that 65% of drivers admit to using a hand-held mobile phone to text or call while driving, despite this being banned last December.
The RAC Auto Windscreens research shows that almost half of drivers admit to spending time looking at other people while driving and ‘rubbernecking’ at accidents.
Eating, drinking or map reading is an offence covered under the careless driving section of the 1988 Road Traffic Act.
The shock findings were part of a survey into UK driving habits.
Bill Duffy, managing director of RAC Auto Windscreens, said: ‘We wanted to show Britain’s driving laws are unclear and are not properly enforced. Of the people surveyed who knew it was an offence to eat and drink at the wheel, they only knew because of random cases that have been highlighted in the media.
‘We urge the Government to speed up new proposals for the prosecution of drivers who commit this type of crime, particularly those who cause death or injury to a third party when they have not given the road their full attention.’