Smoking or vaping while driving
There are many good reasons to consider giving up smoking or vaping, but the legislation regarding smoking or vaping while driving is confusing. Although it is not entirely illegal, some rules should be followed.
Rules and regulations
Rules within the UK state that it’s illegal if a driver or passenger to smoke or vape in a car or van with a roof while driving with children under the age of 18. This can lead to a fine for the person smoking and also to the driver for allowing it. This rule came into force on 1 October 2015.
Vaping is becoming a problem because the vapour that the devices produce is much more visible and denser than cigarette smoke and, as a result, can momentarily block the view of the road. This can cause vision issues for the driver inside the car with the windows shut and the driver following if the windows are open.
If you have been behind a driver who is vaping, the plume of smoke is quite noticeable. Should a collision occur when a driver is vaping, it could be seen as a contributing factor. As a vape pen is considered a gadget, it can carry similar penalties, much like a mobile phone.
Smoking while driving can be very dangerous for a number of reasons. If you drop hot ash or the cigarette end is thrown out of the window and blows back into the car, it can cause panic and could potentially cause a collision or a fire inside the vehicle.
If you are caught smoking or vaping inside a car or van with children under 18, it will attract a fine of £50, which is for the driver, and even if the driver is not smoking, the passenger (who is smoking) will also be fined. A £100 fine or more is given for driving without due care and attention if a collision is caused while smoking or vaping. In severe cases, you can receive up to 9 penalty points on your licence and face a prison sentence and potentially a £5000 fine. HGV drivers can face a £2500 fine.
Although currently, you are not generally asked about smoking or vaping when filling out your car insurance forms, due to the issues that these can cause, experts are saying that it will only be a matter of time before you will have to declare your smoking status. If you have been in a collision caused by smoking or vaping, getting future insurance will likely be costly.
It is always better to park the car or van and step outside if a cigarette or vape is needed. This will help you to stay safe on the roads as well as help to keep your vehicle smoke-free. This matters a lot if you hire a car or van or use a company car where there may well be non-smoking regulations.