Smoking and Driving

What does the Law say?

Rule 193b Chandigarh Motor Vehicle Rules 1999

Prohibition of smoking No driver of a motor vehicle shall smoke while driving the vehicle.

Rule 21(14) Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989

The act of 'smoking while driving public service vehicles' shall constitute nuisance or danger to the public.

Rule 21(6) Central motor Vehicles Rules 1989

If the 'driver, while driving a transport vehicle, engages himself in activity which is likely to disturb his concentration he would be guilty of causing nuisance or danger to the public'.

Rules 21(14) & 21(6)of the Central Motor Vehicles rules 1989 has been laid down with reference to s.19 (1)(f) MVA'88 that defines the circumstances under which the licensing authority may invoke the powers to disqualify the holder of a driving licence from holding the driving licence or to revoke such licence. Yet, the said rule provides a valuable guideline for determining as to what kind of driving would constitute dangerous driving under s.184 MVA'88. It may be considered reasonable, therefore, to treat the act of smoking while driving (an activity that may safely be assumed to cause a disturbance to the driver's concentration) as an instance of dangerous driving chargeable under section 184 MVA'88.

The matter is further clarified by the clear direction of the Hon'ble Punjab & Haryana High Court in the CWP no.7639/95- Nimit Kumar vs Chandigarh Administration and others & CWP no.10591 of 1999 that reads as follows: 'no person while driving a vehicle of any kind including two-wheelers shall use cellular phone and also shall not smoke.' Any person found violating this direction, shall be liable to be proceeded against in accordance with law under the contempt of courts act as well as for violation of traffic regulations.