Driving-Related Sins

I have some habits while I drive my car that I’m having a hard time discerning whether or not they are sins, and if so, if they’re venial or mortal. My first habit is that I tend to go over the speed limit while driving, but typically no more than 3-4 mph over the limit. The second habit is briefly being distracted, where I might look down at my phone for a few seconds to check my navigational map or spend a few seconds opening a cough drop. These habits seem like they might be sinful because some would consider it a safety risk and the speeding could potentially go against Catholics’ obligation to obey laws. Even though I don’t speed that much past the limit and I only look away briefly if I’m sure I’m not putting the safety of myself or anyone else in danger, I still wonder if it’s something that could be considered mortal sin.

Seek the counsel of your priest. What you describe seems like it’s tending towards the scrupulous.


A few mph over I would not think was serious speeding.
I too have to resist the impulse to pop a mint into my mouth at traffic lights, it’s a habit I want to stop.
I suggest you relate the details to your priest and get his advice for your particular circumstances.

You’re overthinking this.
Find something worthwhile to focus your energies on. :grin:

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Charity is the test, and is it involuntary? Do you want to harm others or to protect them? You said: “I’m sure I’m not putting the safety of myself or anyone else in danger”.

In the United States it is customary in most locations to go about 10 miles over the speed limit for highway driving, due to the inaccuracy of speed measuring equipment. Speed limits are set accordingly with that expectation. Limits are only strictly enforced for the most part in school zones, road work areas, and certain “speed trap” towns that are known for excessive ticketing and that legislators often try to put out of existence.

In the United States, one is also generally taught during driver’s ed to do small things like eat, open a cough drop, or glance at driving directions while continuing to drive. If you feel these things pose a problem for you then pull over to do them.

I agree this line of thinking sounds scrupulous and you should discuss with your priest.

I must admit I do have a tendency to be scrupulous and overthink everything but since I do these things fairly often I felt I should get some input on the matter.

2290 The virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess : the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine. Those incur grave guilt who, by drunkenness or a love of speed, endanger their own and others’ safety on the road, at sea, or in the air.

Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Distracted driving and speeding put others at risk, they put you at risk. Put your phone away, unwrap a cough drop before you leave the drive way, obey the speed limit. These are not difficult laws to follow.

Do talk to your priest.

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