Published on March 23rd, 2014 | by Jimmy Hafrey
New York Man Earns Traffic Ticket for Vaping Behind the Wheel
We all know that it’s dangerous to text while driving, but have you ever thought about the consequences of vaping behind the wheel? While puffing on an ecig in the car might not seem like a big deal, it turns out that could earn you a traffic ticket if you live in New York. This week, Jason Dewing was vaping on the road when he looked up to see blue lights in the rearview mirror. He pulled over, assuming he had unknowingly violated a traffic rule. It turns out that his only mistake was holding an e-cigarette behind the wheel.
Dewing was awarded a traffic violation and the officer explained that under Article 33, Section 1225-D, it is illegal to operate mobile phones and “portable electronic devices” while driving a vehicle. The law specifies that portable electronic devices include “hand-held mobile telephone, personal digital assistant, handheld device with mobile data access, laptop computer, pager, broadband person communication device, two-way messaging device, electronic game, or portable computing device.” While electronic cigarettes are not officially included by name, the police officer justified the traffic citation because e-cigs are portable and electronically powered.
Although Dewing was penalized for vaping, there is no law against smoking while driving. Any smoker knows that lighting up a cigarette and worrying about flicking away the ashes is way more distracting that simply puffing on an electronic cigarette, which requires no flame and produces no smoke or ash. Plus, when you are finished vaping, you simply put the e-cig back in your pocket or lay it down on the seat beside you. If you are smoking an analog cigarette, you have to extinguish the flame and most of the time, that means you toss it out the window into oncoming traffic. Not only does smoking create litter, but it can also create a hazard for cars or motorcycles behind the car where someone is smoking.
Ultimately, a judge will have to decide if Dewing actually violated the law by using an electronic cigarette. This could be a monumental case that could set a precedent for other vapers around the United States. Do you think that New York has a case against vaping motorists or is this just another ridiculous excuse to target vapers and punish them for choosing e-cigs over tobacco cigarettes?
Do you think Dewing deserved to receive a ticket for vaping behind the wheel?