Police Warn Drivers Face Prosecution If They're Caught Vaping Behind The Wheel
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Have you ever been driving behind someone when a huge cloud of smoke billows from the driver's window?
If you have, it will probably come as no surprise that those who choose to vape behind the wheel can be prosecuted because of their vision being obstructed.
The large amount of smoke that comes from vapes and e-cigarettes can easily reduce a driver's vision which could, in turn, lead to an accident or crash.
According to RAC, drivers could face the same penalty as they would if they were 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 ($3,200).
While vaping itself is not illegal, the handheld electronic devices have the potential to distract drivers causing them to pay less attention to the road.
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.
Sergeant 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'.
He added that 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."