With many people now switching over to e-cigarettes from traditional tobacco based cigarettes, the rules surrounding the usage while driving a taxi or private hire vehicle may seem a little unclear.
All drivers are being warned they could face thousands of pounds in fines and even lose their licence if caught vaping behind the wheel. Police have issued an e-cigarette warning to motorists, claiming they may be prosecuted for driving without "due care and attention". A fine of £2,500 could be issued to drivers if it is deemed that they were not in full control of their vehicle. In addition to the fine they could also receive nine points on their licence. The RAC said vaping on the road could result in the same penalties as drivers using a phone while driving. As reported by Talk Radio, Sergeant Carl Knapp of Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said that drivers could face accidents as a result of vaping at the wheel. He said: “There are no laws prohibiting vaping. However, you need to be in full and proper control of your vehicle at all times. "The consequences can be dire. All it takes is a moment to become distracted and potentially cause a crash or a fatality.” A spokesperson for the Department of Transport added: “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.”
The current law regarding smoking in a taxi or private hire vehicle states that it is against the law to smoke in virtually all enclosed public places, workplaces and public work vehicles. This means that smoking is not allowed by anyone in a private hire vehicle or taxi at anytime. This includes the driver, even if the vehicle is not being used for hire and reward at that time.
Licensed private hire and taxi vehicles are also required to display no smoking signage.
Drivers or passengers found to be smoking in a licensed private hire or taxi vehicles may be subject to a fixed penalty notice of £50, or a maximum fine of £200 if prosecuted and convicted by a court.
The exact same rules apply in relation to e-cigarettes being used by taxi and private hire drivers in some licensing authorities including London.
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