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New Smoking While In Car Offences

Smoking While Driving Offence

Smoking While Driving Offence

A new law has today been introduced that prohibits smoking in a motor vehicle when there is a child in the vehicle. Anyone smoking in a motor vehicle containing a child commits an offence as does a non-smoking driver if he allows a passenger to smoke when there is a child in the vehicle.

Under the new offence a “child” is anyone under the age of 18 years. However, anyone 16 years or over is legally able to purchase and smoke cigarettes and tobacco. Once someone reaches the age of 17 years they are entitled to obtain a provisional driving licence and take their driving test.

So what happens if the “child” is the person smoking, or driving, or both?

A 17 year old who is legally driving their car and smoking does not commit an offence if there is no one else in the car.

If the 17 year old driver picks up a passenger whilst continuing to smoke he commits an offence and is liable for a £50 penalty. It doesn’t matter how old the passenger is because the 17 year old driver is the “child” who is present, he is both the “victim” and the “offender”.

In the same scenario if the driver and passenger are both smoking the driver actually commits two offences, one for smoking and one for being the driver and not stopping the passenger from smoking. He would be liable to pay a £100 penalty. The passenger also commits an offence and would be liable to a £50 penalty.

It makes no difference whether the car is moving or stationary, or if the windows and sunroof are fully open, the offences can still committed. The only exception is if the car is a convertible if the roof is completely down and stowed away.

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