MOTORISTS face losing their license if they are caught vaping behind the wheel – because it “obscures their vision”.
Police have warned anyone driving and distracted by smoking e-cigarettes could be fined thousands of pounds or even banned, under new UK laws.
Although vaping while driving isn’t illegal, officers say a vape cloud could momentarily blind drivers long enough to have a crash, according to Britain’s Telegraph newspaper, resulting in prosecution.
Drivers could face a fine of up to £2,500 as well as incur three to nine points on a driving license and even disqualification in serious circumstances.
Sergeant Carl Knapp of the Sussex Road Policing Unit warned: “The smoke caused by vapes are a distraction and the consequences of them can be dire, all it takes is a moment to become distracted and potentially cause a crash and even worse, a fatality.”
He added: “I strongly advise people to pay 100 per cent attention to the roads when driving as anything that takes that attention away has the potential of severe consequences.
“If you are going to vape I advise that you open your windows and blow the vapour directly out, just ensure that you are in full control of your vehicle before doing so.”
The warning comes as latest figures reveal over 3 million people in the UK now use e-cigarettes, with media reports claiming many of them vape while driving.
Sergeant John Davis of Surrey Police said as with eating, anything that causes a distraction while driving, is guilty of an offence, with potentially serious consequences.
He explained: “Any person who is distracted in any way could be guilty of an offence – whether that be smoking, vaping or eating.
“With regards a scenario where someone could potentially be either distracted or have reduced visibility then there is potential for a crash.”
Road safety charity Brake also warned of the safety aspects of e-cigarettes in a statement, saying: “Vaping while driving increases your risk of crashing, causing visual disruption and physical and mental distraction.
“Attempting any type of activity that takes your eyes off the road increases your chances of causing a crash, and killing or seriously injuring someone.”