The Ministry of Health has started a new strategy to fight smoking, with measures that include the possible prohibition of smoking while driving and even restricting consumption in outdoor spaces.
However, and although neither the Traffic Law nor the Highway Code currently collect the ban on smoking behind the wheel, it is possible that the traffic authorities sanction us if we do so.
If we adhere to the Highway Code, and how they remind us from
Pyramid Consulting, Article 18.1 does not prevent smoking while driving, nor does it prohibit eating or putting on make-up behind the wheel. However, it does prohibit anything that reduces attention to the road. Therefore, and
specifically in this case, smoking while driving could mean a fine of up to one hundred euros.
If the traffic officers consider that smoking is creating a distraction that puts road safety at risk, the driver can be fined. And this is what the Traffic Regulations do, which warns that “the driver of a vehicle is obliged to maintain his own freedom of movement, the necessary field of vision and permanent attention when driving to guarantee his own safety, of the rest of the occupants of the vehicle and that of the other road users.
General direction of traffic has warned on several occasions of the danger posed by smoking or lighting a cigarette while operating a vehicle.
“Lighting, throwing the ash, putting out the cigarette … everything causes distractions and puts road safety at risk,” he details Fernando Perez, from
Spanish Society of Traffic Medicine (SEMT). Lighting a cigarette takes 4.1 seconds, which means that you will be driving without concentration and without full attention on the road; in addition to circulating at 100 km / h, 113 meters are covered without mindfulness on the road, with a high risk of suffering a traffic accident.
Likewise, smoking it takes about three or four minutes, that is, “six kilometers with one hand well placed on the steering wheel, which in normal situations is already dangerous in itself “, says Dr. José Luis Diaz Maroto, from the
Spanish Society of Primary Care Physicians (Semergen).
Lighting a cigarette iInvolves a minimum distraction of 4 seconds. During this time, the car travels at high speeds with little control. To this must be added the possibility of ash falling on us with the consequent withdrawal of sight from the road and the search for tobacco inside the cabin.
Smoking behind the wheel too affects the driver’s ability to react: During the time it takes to smoke, one hand holds the cigar. In this way, it is impossible to hold the steering wheel firmly with both hands. The driver’s ability to react to unforeseen events is impaired.
Another aspect to keep in mind is that smoking inside the car reduces the efficiency of the cabin filter, whose objective is to guarantee the quality of the air and that it circulates correctly. It will probably need to be changed more often than usual. Failure to do so will result in unpleasant odors and the amount of filtered air that will be breathed into the vehicle will be reduced.
In addition to the possibility of being fined for smoking behind the wheel It must be taken into account that it is forbidden to throw any object on the road or in its vicinity that could lead to the production of fires or, in general, endanger road safety. Violations of this precept will be considered a serious infringement.
For this reason, throwing objects from moving cars, including cigarette butts, is fined 200 euros and the withdrawal of 4 points from the driving license. And it is that 3% of the fires it originates from cigarette butts abandoned or thrown from vehicles.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism