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Is It Legal To Smoke While Driving?

In India, you see, it is illegal to smoke while driving, and if you are caught doing that, you can be charged with a fine, and if found multiple times doing such a thing, your driving license might get suspended. If that has intrigued you enough, then keep on reading, because there is a lot more you should know about smoking while driving. Here we go.

Smoke While Driving

What Laws or Rules There Are Regarding This?

To put it simply, in India, there is no law that applies to the entire country stating that you are not allowed to take your cigarette in your hand and smoke while driving a car. But yes, you need to be aware of the different rules in different parts of India. Like in New Delhi, the high court ruled that it is illegal to smoke while driving a vehicle and they did this to make the roads safer for all passengers as well as pedestrians. If you are caught smoking while driving in Delhi, you will be fined ₹2,000, and yes, if you are caught more than once you can lose your driving license. This is done to make drivers focus on their eyes on the road rather than enjoying their cigarette. On the other hand, in Chandigarh, smoking while driving any type of vehicle, even public or private is banned as well as part of their local vehicle rules. If you are caught smoking while driving here, you will be punished as well.

Enforcement and Penalties

Even if smoking in a car is not specifically banned, you might still run into trouble because there are other offenses that could be brought against you. Let’s say if a police officer believes that smoking is preventing you from driving safely, you could be charged with dangerous driving. There are penalties for both fines and restrictions on your license. In theory, under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003, you may also end up being fined if you smoke in a way that endangers another person. The traffic police also have the power to issue fines if they believe your smoking is making you drive recklessly.

It’s Not Just About the Law

You see, protecting yourself is one thing, but also keeping others safe is an important rule you need to consider, right? If you are smoking while driving, you have to use one of your hands to keep it in between your fingers, and that’s why it is dangerous. Moreover, if you are lighting your cigarette or throwing ash from the window, your eyes could be off the road for a few seconds and this could result in an accident. In places like Bangalore, the police are strict about anything that might endanger other people on the road. For example, when you throw ash out of your window, it could hit the face of another driver, especially two-wheeler drivers. This could lead to fights or even accidents between different drivers. Bangalore police take these cases very seriously and they have the right to fine you for causing this kind of danger to people on the road.

Tips for Smokers

If you are a smoker, there are ways to deal with this that will be safer for you and others around you while driving, like smoking beforehand when you start your trip. This can help reduce the urge to light up while driving. Smoking alternatives like nicotine gum or patches can also help you manage your cravings so that you don’t have to physically light a cigarette. A further option is to turn your car into a smoke-free zone by removing all ashtrays and items around you that can remind you of smoking. Lastly, on longer trips, you can take more breaks to help ease the urge. You can stop and smoke in a safe place, away from the car if needed, that would be a much better and safer way.


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