Vaping at the wheel could be a crime warn Police

Vaping at the wheel could be a crime warn Police
Using e-cigarettes while driving could land motorists with the same penalty as being caught on a mobile phone.

Police have warned that in certain circumstances vaping behind the wheel is against the law and could see drivers receive three, six or nine points on their licence, or in some severe cases, a driving ban.

They could also face a fine of up to £2,500.

Although vaping while driving isn’t a crime in itself, the handheld electronic devices have the potential to distract drivers causing them to pay less attention to the road.

READ MORE: Driving without due care and attention – are you an offender?

One of the main concerns for police is the sheer volume of smoke produced when vaping which could easily obscure a driver’s view of the road.

Sgt Carl Knapp, of the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said: “The smoke caused by vapes is a distraction, and the consequences can be dire.

“All it takes is a moment to become distracted and potentially cause a crash or, even worse, a fatality.”

“There are no laws prohibiting vaping. However, you need to be in full and proper control of your vehicle at all times.”

Sgt John Davis, of Surrey Police, added: “Firstly, any person who is distracted in any way could be guilty of an offence – whether that be smoking, vaping, eating, etc.”

He went on to explain that scenarios where motorists were deemed to be distracted by their e-cigarettes would be dealt with on a “case-by-case basis”.

READ MORE: Fewer drivers caught using phones following tougher penalties

He added any specific laws regarding vaping behind the wheel were unlikely to come into place any time soon.

Sgt Davis explained: “I am unaware of any studies, either in the UK or elsewhere, where the effects of vaping have been looked at. In investigations that we conduct, any distraction would need to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

“With regards a national discussion, it hasn’t been raised as an issue, so it’s unlikely to be discussed at a national level. The Highway Code also covers distractions, as does the law.

“It would be impractical to bring in a law for any new ‘distraction’ that comes along. The mobile phone laws were brought in and then penalties increased because it became a very real problem.”

Copyright Press Association 2018. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.