Monday, May 16

Up to €500 fine for smoking in the car: all the penalties in force even if the butt is not thrown away

Smoking is not only bad for your health, but also for your pocket. And we are not referring to the price of the cigarette pack, we are thinking of the penalties that we face as drivers if we decide to light up a cigarette while driving. Even if you don’t throw away the butt, it is possible that an agent will fine you for smoking while driving.

It is a debate that has hovered over the declarations of the DGT for a long time. Should those who smoke at the wheel be punished? And the truth is that, although it is not expressly prohibited, yes, we might get fined for it. And not everything is related to throwing a cigarette butt on the road, although the largest fines are.

Up to 500 euros of fine and six points less

The new Traffic Law, published in the BOE on December 21 and which will come into full force on March 21, 2022, has modified some penalties related to smoking at the wheel.

Up to now, throw a cigarette butt on the road is classified as a serious offence, as stated in section n) of article 76: “Throwing objects onto the road or in its vicinity that may cause fires or accidents, or that hinder free movement”. This definition is maintained with the new text, but the following is also added in article 7 in section x): “Throwing objects that could cause fires or accidents onto the road or its surroundings.”

That is, throwing a cigarette butt on the road can be punished with a fine of 200 or 500 euros with the incorporation of this act to the facts included in the section on “very serious offences”. But, in addition, with the new law the possibility of generating a fire by throwing a cigarette butt on the road will be punished with six points, instead of the current four.

Also if we limit ourselves to driving smoking

And as with cigarette butts, smoking behind the wheel can also be a reason for a sanction even if it is not specified literally. Article 10.2 states that “the driver must use the vehicle with diligence, caution and attention necessary to avoid any damageown or others, taking care not to endanger himself or the other occupants of the vehicle and other road users, especially those whose characteristics make them more vulnerable”.

In addition, in article 13.2, in its first part, it is reiterated that “the driver of a vehicle is obliged to maintain his own freedom of movement, the necessary field of vision and permanent attention to driving, which guarantee his own safety, that of the other occupants of the vehicle and that of other road users”.

The application of either of these two articles has served on other occasions to fine drivers who, in the opinion of the agents, were not paying full attention to the road while drinking water, eating and even arguing with the passenger. In all the above cases, as in the case of lighting a cigarette while driving, the penalty is the equivalent of a minor infraction and, therefore, up to 100 euros.

Photos | Anton Vorobyov