Motorists in the UK risk being hit three times if they are caught smoking behind the wheel, it has been claimed.
According to a leading comparison site, drivers can pick up a £60 fine, a three-point licence point penalty and a significant hike in the cost of their car insurance premium if they are found to be behaving dangerously due to the act.
Young motorists risk the most, the research added, with 21-year-olds risking being hit with a more than a 20% increase for a single conviction, it added. If the driver is found committing a crime on the road again, their original car insurance policy could go up more than 31 per cent.
In extreme cases insurance companies are doubling their premiums or even refusing to quote. It seems they feel the likelihood of further offences is high with a smoker. The offence is classed as driving without due care and attention and this is taken very seriously by insurers.
"Time will tell which insurers increase or decrease the level to which they penalize those caught smoking while driving," said a managing director of the firm.
"One thing remains certain, points on your licence spells bad news for your insurance premium."
However, even if convictions have occurred it is still worth shopping around for car insurance as some companies are more lenient than others.