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Distractions whilst driving are one of the main contributing factors to road traffic incidents.

Smoking when driving, according to the DGT, is one of the most frequent distractions behind the wheel, and it can be just as dangerous (or more so) as using a mobile device while driving. So, although in most circumstances it is not prohibited, at least not yet, the authorities directly advise users not to carry out this practice in the vehicle.

Distractions at the wheel according to the DGT

To avoid getting distracted at the wheel, the DGT advise us to sleep well before the trip, consume no alcohol, other drugs, or certain medications that can cause dizziness and drowsiness, have light food, if any, and program the GPS or radio before starting to drive. During the journey, do not smoke, stop to rest from time to time, only use your mobile phone in an emergency, and then only when the vehicle is stopped in a safe, and legal place.

Risks of smoking in the car

As we have mentioned, currently, under most circumstances, smoking while driving is not prohibited, but the DGT puts this bad habit on the same level as the use of the telephone while driving.

Specifically, smoking while driving can multiply the risk of having an incident by 1.5 times. According to various studies, lighting a cigarette while driving involves an average distraction of 4 seconds. During this time and at a speed of 110 km/h, it is possible to cover 120 metres without any control over what we do, with hands occupied and with attention and gaze diverted from the objective, driving.

The DGT recommends stopping to smoke

There is also a risk that you might drop a lit cigarette inside the car, on your legs or on the seat. Since, the scare of suddenly seeing incandescent ash on the body has caused serious trouble to more than one driver. Therefore, a swerve or a mistake inside the vehicle can cause a serious incident and put the safety of other drivers at risk.

Penalty of 100 euro for distracted driving

If you are distracted by smoking, you can face a fine of 100 euro. So, although smoking itself is not prohibited, the actions to carry out the task can be.

Fine for throwing cigarette butts out the car window

It should also be clarified that since the entry into force of the new Traffic and Road Safety Law in March of this year, throwing cigarette butts or other objects that may pose some kind of danger to other road users is considered a very severe offence. Consequently, you will be sanctioned with a fine of 500 euro and the loss of six points on your driving licence.

Smoking prohibited with children and pregnant women

We mentioned that smoking is not prohibited in most circumstances, but the Spanish Ministry of Health is working on a project that would prohibit smoking in the car when children or pregnant women travel. This idea, which is framed in the Comprehensive Plan for the Prevention and Control of Smoking 2021-2025, aims to increase the number of smoke-free spaces in the country. And within these new areas private vehicles would be included. Some people say that this plan does not go far enough, and that smoking should be banned in all private vehicles. We will of course have to wait for the results of the inevitable debates to see the final outcome.

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