E-Cigarettes & Driving: The Law

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Most road users are unaware, but using e-cigarette’s, or vaping, while driving can result in a fine of up to £2,500, 3 penalty points, and even disqualification from driving.

On the face of it, this seems severe. And what are the risks posed by smoking these devices at the wheel anyway?

Well, it all comes down to driving without due care and attention. The concern is, large smoke plumes produced by e-cigarettes can impair a driver’s vision to the point that they cannot see the road in front of them. Therefore, it can be deemed that they can’t drive with the necessary care and attention.


A growing problem

The police have issued a warning to motorists that vaping at the wheel will be increasingly monitored, making consequences more likely for offenders.

The police have advised motorists to open their windows before they start vaping, and to make sure that they are in full control of their vehicle at all times. Sufficient smoke must exit the vehicle to ensure that vision is not impaired.

Vaping at the wheel itself is not illegal, but the warning to drivers is clear: vaping must not lead to driving without due care and attention or the consequences can be severe. It isn’t just the risk of a large fine and penalties, road safety is the underlying concern and this advice is intended to keep motorists safe.


Isn’t this a bit ambiguous?

What a driver deems to be safe practice can differ vastly from the viewpoint of the police. The driver has the benefit of making the judgement in their environment whilst the officer does not.

However, given the heavy nature of the smoke produced through vaping, road users should not take the chance with regards to safety or they risk a fine and penalty points. Sanctions which can be issued at a police officer’s discretion.

This guidance is in line with other activities that can cause distraction whilst driving. Eating, drinking, and in some cases even applying make-up behind the wheel can lead to distraction that causes an accident. Whatever the cause of the distraction, the punishment is just as severe.


The DRN Takeaway

Our advice is to make sure that you are fully concentrated on the road at all times, and if you are planning to vape at the wheel – plan ahead. Open your window first and direct the smoke outside your vehicle. Road safety should always come first and taking these precautions will help you to avoid unnecessary fines and penalty points.

Perhaps you have taken all the necessary precautions and still got into trouble for driving without due care and attention? Or, maybe you feel like you have been victimised and treated harshly for vaping behind the wheel…?

Whatever situation you find yourself in following a road traffic offence, the Road Traffic Team at DRN are here to help. We will work with you using our expertise to get you a fair outcome and one that protects your licence and your livelihood.

Call the team today on 01282 433 241, or visit — DRN Road Traffic Offences for more information.