Road Traffic Law has evolved significantly over the last few years with many proposed changes finally coming through to fruition. Legislation to tackle drug drivers came into force earlier in 2015 and now the next change (albeit a more minor one) is aimed at smokers.

Parliament has now approved regulations which will make smoking in cars that are carrying children illegal and the new rules will come into force on 01 October 2015.

People who fail to comply with the new regulations could face a £50 fixed penalty notice.

Jane Ellison, our Public Health Minister said:

“Three million children are exposed to secondhand smoke in cars, putting their health at risk. We know that many of them feel embarrassed or frightened to ask adults to stop smoking, which is why the regulations are an important step in protecting children from the harms of secondhand smoke.

Public Health England will launch its campaign to raise awareness of the dangers that secondhand smoke in homes and cars can cause to children’s health. PHE will also be running a campaign later in the year to raise awareness of the new legislation.”

The regulations are to become part of the existing smoke-free laws and will establish an offence of smoking or failing to prevent smoking in a private vehicle with someone under the age of 18 present.

It may be interesting to see how police officers go about enforcing these regulations as we suspect many drivers will not be stopped should their child appear to be over 18 when in fact they are not. It therefore seems likely that it will be those with smaller children who are targeted as stopping all vehicles with borderline children/adults in would simply be too time consuming.

This is quite a contentious subject matter and we’d like to know your thoughts. Do you think a £50 fine will deter motorists from smoking in their car?

For more on passive smoking and the effects on children, feel free to go visit the official NHS website where they have more details on the matter: http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/2289.aspx

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