Tiny Device Distracts More Drivers Than Texting

“Cigarette smoking produces a remarkable risk for road safety …”

Vaping, Smoking While Driving Cause Accidents 

New ‘hands-free’ driving laws restrict cellphone use, but saying nothing about cigarettes, e-cigs

“Distracted driving is any activity that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off your primary task of driving safely,” says Doug Smith, senior vice president of personal lines at Erie Insurance.

Cigarette smoking is certainly one such activity.

Think about it: In order to smoke in your car, you must locate the pack, remove a cigarette, find a lighter, and try to get the cigarette lit while still maintaining your focus on the road and hands on the wheel.

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If you are unsuccessful in your attempts to light the cigarette, you will keep trying and your focus and concentration is broken even longer. Once done smoking, you will need to make sure the cigarette is put out and disposed of properly.

Driving distractions caused by smoking and driving:

  • Visual distraction. This occurs while drivers search around their car for their cigarettes and lighter;
  • Cognitive distraction. The driver’s brain is focused on finding and then lighting their cigarette
  • Manual distraction. This occurs because drivers are generally required to remove both hands from the wheel in order to light their cigarette.

Once the cigarette is lit, the driver will keep driving with one hand off the steering wheel in order to smoke while driving.

They will subsequently become distracted by the need to expel ash either into the car’s cigarette tray or out of the window.

The entire process of lighting and smoking a cigarette while driving is extremely dangerous.

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One in 10 crashes involves at least one distracted driver, according to police data analyzed by Erie Insurance in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a nationwide census of fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The National Institutes of Health published a report examining the impact of smoking while driving and its consequences.

The study found that on average, drivers who were smoking were even more distracted than people who used a cell phone.

Cigarette smokers averaged 12.0 seconds of distraction (equitable to traveling 525 feet without looking at the road), while cell phone users averaged 10.6 seconds of distraction (traveling 492 feet).

Further, in their training manual for Commercial Drivers License drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration strongly discourages smoking while driving.

The FMCSA conducted its own 5 year study into the dangers of smoking while driving a truck and found that smoking was a source of distraction in 0.9 percent of distraction-related crashes.

This equates to approximately 12,780 crashes over the five year period examined.

Distracted driving is a true epidemic that is taking over America.

Unfortunately, most people only associate this danger with talking or texting on cell phones while driving. The reality, however, is that distracted driving is a problem that involves many causes.

Eating, using a GPS, and smoking cigarettes are just a few examples of distractions while driving other than those involving texting or talking on the cell phone.

These activities cause fatalities every day in America. Drive safe and stay alert.

If you have suffered injuries at the hands of a distracted driver, call an experienced and aggressive attorney to handle your claim and help you seek compensation for your injuries. Contact Dolman Law Group today: 727-451-6900.

Source: Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765


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Smoking while driving and its consequences on road safety

National Institutes of Health – The study was focused on the risk assessment of distraction of smoking habits while driving vehicles.

We have compared the results with the data about driving distraction using mobile phone without voice devices. We video-recorded 10 smokers, 4 male and 6 female, smoking while driving a car.

The average of measured driving distraction of smokers is about 12 seconds. It means to cover a distance of 160 metres with a speed of 50 Km/h.

Comparing to the use of mobile phone, the data of driving distraction show a duration of 10.6 seconds, that means to cover a distance of 150 metres at the speed of 50 Km/h.

This result suggest that cigarette smoking produces a remarkable risk for road safety, more than the mobile phone use.

In addiction to the conditions that produce a considerable driving distraction of smokers, we underline a demonstrated shortage of oxygen, the presence of carbon monoxide and hight concentration offine particulate in the air breathed inside the vehicle.

We also consider another aspect related to smoking habits while driving vehicles: the environmental damage. In fact throwing cigarette outside, while the vehicle is moving, is the prevalent reason of setting fire to the edge of the road.

This study proposes to make changes in the laws and regulation on road safety in order to fine smokers behaviour during vehicle driving.

Furthermore it seems necessary to promote public information about those risks among people. Source. 

Vaping and Driving: Everything You Need to Know

Although federal and state lawmakers have taken steps to ban the sale of certain vaping products, the same laws and insurance stipulations that apply to tobacco use continue to apply to vaping.

That includes the practice of vaping while driving.

Under U.S. law, it’s no more illegal to use a vape pen behind the wheel than it is to smoke a cigarette. And insurers are no more likely to exclude auto coverage for vape users than they are to exclude coverage for other smokers.

But there are laws that may affect how motorists use vaping and other tobacco products. That’s why motorist and vaping advocates are urging drivers to exercise common sense if they want to vape on the road.

What the laws say

Although there are no U.S. laws explicitly prohibiting vaping while driving, vape users must still consider existing laws on safety and distracted driving.

For example, several states have laws prohibiting windshield obstruction, meaning a police officer could cite someone for driving around with thick vapor clouds and the windows rolled up.

Some states also prohibit any kind of smoking while driving with children in the car. In California, drivers may face a $100 fine for smoking when minors are present in the vehicle.

Based on how they interpret certain laws, police officers may leverage these laws to target irresponsible vaping practices.

For example, many states have passed laws that prohibit texting or the use of any kind of “portable electronic device” while driving. An e-cigarette could fall under that category.

“We have seen posts on social media from a couple of people who have been pulled over for using what an officer thought was a cell phone,” says Alex Clark, CEO of the Consumer Advocates for Smoke Free Alternatives Association.

Police in the U.K. have started citing obstruction and distraction laws to target motorists who vape, even though there are no specific laws that outlaw vaping while driving.

British officers have warned that drivers could lose their license and face a £2,500 fine if found guilty of driving without due care and attention.

In the U.S., one of the most direct attempts to enact a vaping law targeting motorists came in 2019 from Massachusetts lawmakers, who were considering extending the state’s asset forfeiture laws to allow police to seize the car of anyone possessing untaxed e-cigarettes.

State lawmakers shot down the proposal before the end of the year, but they did sign a law severely restricting flavored vape products.

“The state’s reaction to nicotine vapor products and the proposed, now enacted, legislation banning flavors is a prime example of otherwise progressive states opening up a new front in the failed war on drugs,” Clark says.

Insurance concerns

Smoking of any kind can affect life insurance policies, but it’s unlikely for auto insurers to exclude vape users when writing a policy.

Auto insurance policies are based mostly on liability risk and vehicle value, which means vaping shouldn’t present any issues. Source. 

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