Is It Illegal to Vape While Driving?

Vaping is one of the newest ways smokers have found that might give them a chance to beat their nicotine addiction. However, when driving using a vaping device, you could be putting yourself and others in danger and risking accidents. With it being dangerous, does that mean it’s illegal? According to Apollo, the answer isn’t quite as straightforward as you might think. 

Is vaping while driving illegal?

A man vaping while driving his car in Gdansk, Poland
A man vaping while driving his car | Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Basically, the answer is no, but there are situations where vaping could be covered under other driving laws. For example, texting and driving is against the law because it’s considered a distraction in some states. In the state of New York, their distraction law says that you can’t use any “portable electronic device.” While it’s meant mainly for cell phones, it includes other devices, like portable video game units and tablets. Some vaping devices fall under this category. 

There’s also a law that says you can’t drive a vehicle with anything that’s non-transparent, obstructing your view. That includes objects you wouldn’t think of, like air fresheners hanging from your rearview mirror. When a person vapes, it tends to release a thick smoke that you can’t see through until it dissipates. If you use a vaping device and drive around with your windows up, a police officer can pull you over if the smoke impedes your view. 

Another possibility is that it could fall under the reckless driving law. While you would normally think of someone getting a ticket for driving at excessive speeds or driving under the influence of alcohol, it can occur while trying to tinker with a vaping device. Some of these units need refilling or changing out the cartridge on occasion. Doing that while driving would take your eyes off the road, which could cause you to swerve and possibly hit something. 

State-specific laws and how do they affect insurance policies?

Many states have laws that say you can’t smoke in the car when minor children are present. Smoking is generally referred to as a normal cigarette, but using a vaping device is not much different. Some states charge pretty high if you’re ticketed for it. California, for example, fines you $100 if you’re caught.

As far as insurance goes, you’re not likely to have any issues with auto insurance companies in the U.S. It will likely affect your life insurance policy, though. Additionally, in the U.K., drivers who have an accident while vaping might not be so lucky with their insurance agencies. According to Insurance Quotes, some have been denied payouts after an accident where they were vaping.

Is it safe to vape while driving?

According to Motor Verso, Experts strongly recommend you avoid it, but you could safely vape while you drive your vehicle if you feel you need to. However, there are certain steps you should consider taking to avoid any fines. 

First, keep your windows down and blow the smoke out through the opened window next to you and not toward the windshield in front of you. This will prevent the smoke from obstructing your view. Additionally, please don’t overdo it. High levels of nicotine cause dizziness and light-headedness, which could impair your driving, according to E3 Spark Plugs. Lastly, if you need to make adjustments or refill your device’s tank, be sure not to do it while driving. Wait until a stop sign or pull into a parking lot to take care of it. Anything that averts your eyes from the road, even for a few seconds, could spell disaster.

Vaping while driving is technically legal, but you should be careful because it might be covered under a few other laws. It’s best to avoid it altogether when driving or take a few precautions if you must vape and drive. 

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