There’s a new ban on smoking in cars in the United Kingdom (UK) that every driver across Britain must be aware of to avoid being penalised. It is being applied when children are present inside the vehicle. As a responsible driver, here is everything you need to know about this new regulation…
The new law that bans smoking in cars with children passengers has come into force in the UK beginning October 1, 2015. The new rule has been applied to any passenger or driver of any car which could be classified as “enclosed vehicle” if a child under 18 years of age is on board.
Anybody who would be caught breaking the law will be subjected to a fine of £50. It would also be considered an offence for any driver or even a provisional driver if he or she will not stop any of his or her passenger or passengers who are smoking on board a private vehicle when there is a minor with them.
The new smoking ban enforcement has been prompted by some figures currently showing that in Britain there are already more than 430,000 children at the age of 11 to 15 years who have been exposed every week to the so-called “second-hand smoke” in cars.
Also, the enforcement of the ban has been fuelled by the fact that the same law has already been existing and effectively enforced in some states in the United States of America (USA) as well as in Canada, Australia and in a few countries in Europe.
Any enforcement of a new law will often be followed by reactions from some sectors of the society. In this case, the concerned drivers may have some questions in common. So, you may read on for the answers to your key questions on this new law such as: (1.) Will the smoking ban extend to convertible vehicles?
The answer: If you are driving a convertible car with a fully downed roof, you don’t need to worry because the law applies only to private cars which are partly or wholly enclosed by the roof. This means that having your car window or sunroof open will not make any violation that may catch the attention of the police if you’re seen smoking with kids on board your car.
However, those partially convertible models, such as the Fiat 500C or the Porsche 911 Targa, will likely land you at the wrong side of the law if you have switched on the air-conditioning system or sitting in an open doorway. They actually are not get-out clauses from the coverage of the new law.
The other key question: (2.) How does the new smoking ban apply to those 17-year-old drivers? The answer: Remember that in some cases, the law in the UK is something odd because you cannot buy cigarettes legally if you are below 18 years old, however it is actually legal to smoke cigarettes when you are 16 years of age.
With this in mind, if you are a 17-year-old driver with a provisional driving licence or just recently passed your driving test, the new smoking ban in cars doesn’t prohibit you from smoking in your own presence. The new law does kick in only if you have the passengers who are below 18 years of age.
Then, the other question: (3.) Are e-cigarettes included in the new smoking ban in cars? The answer is “No.” The law does not apply to e-cigarettes, however cigarette smoking in enclosed spaces has become controversial with Wales which has banned the use of e-cigarettes in any public building.