Using e-cigarettes while driving could land motorists with the same penalty as being caught on a mobile phone, a senior police officer has warned.
Although ‘vaping’ while driving is not an illegal act, it is up to the discretion of police officers to determine what they deem as a potentially dangerous and distracting handheld electronic device.
According to RAC news, those deemed to be distracted by the e-cigarettes could be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention, the penalty for which can be disqualification, three to nine points on a licence, or a fine of up to £2,500.
Sergeant Carl Knapp, from the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit, says that vaping – which creates large quantities of smoke – is a distraction with potentially dire consequences.
Sergeant Knapp said: “There are no laws prohibiting vaping, however, you need to be in full and proper control of your vehicle at all times.
“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.”
Sgt John Davis from Surrey Police added that any instances where motorists are deemed to be distracted by e-cigarettes would be dealt with on a ‘case-by-case basis’.
A spokesperson for the DfT told the Telegraph: “We believe that drivers should always follow the rules set out by the highway code and must always exercise proper control of their vehicle and avoid any distractions, including vaping.”