Police warn drivers could lose their licence and be prosecuted for vaping at the wheel

Vaping - Credit Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Vaping - Credit Peter Byrne/PA Wire
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Motorists who enjoy vaping and driving could be facing a ban and even prosecution, senior police officers have warned.

Senior officers at Surrey Police have warned motorists across the country that they could lose their licence for vaping behind the wheel.

While it is not illegal to use an e-cigarette behind the wheel, the force have warned motorists could be endangering life by vaping behind the wheel.

Sussex Road Policing Unit said that it is up to the discretion of police officers to determine what they believe to be a potentially dangerous and distracting handheld electronic device.

The force reminded motorists that they must be in 'full and proper control' of their vehicle and that vaping could cause a dangerous distraction.

The warning comes as latest figures reveal over 3 million people in the UK now use e-cigarettes, with the majority of them driving.

Sergeant Carl Knapp with the Sussex Road Policing Unit said: "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.

"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.

"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."

Officers said that drivers could have their vision obscured by the huge clouds of vapour which may momentarily blind drivers and cause fatal crashes.

Those deemed to be distracted by e-cigarettes could be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention, the penalty of which can be disqualification, three to nine points on your licence, or a fine of up to £2,500.

Sergeant John Davis of Surrey Police echoed this comment, adding: "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."

A spokesperson for the Department of Transport said: "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."

In 2015, it was made illegal to smoke in a car, or any other vehicle with any child under the age of 18 to protect children from second hand smoke.

And last year, tough new laws were brought into force banning motorists from using their phones on the roads and this extends to using their devices as sat navs.

Temporary Chief Inspector Craig Clifton said: “One second is all it takes to lose focus and in that one second, your life could change forever."