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These blogs are written by our legal team and it is hoped you will find them informative. If you wish to discuss any of the issues raised within please do not hesitate to drop the author an email.

Smoking In Private Cars

30/9/20150 CommentsBy Adam Bonney

From 1 October 2015, the Smoke-Free (Private Vehicles) Regulations 2015, come into force. This prohibits smoking in private vehicles when a person under the age of 18 is present, in England.

If a passenger is smoking in the car with someone under 18 present, both the driver and the smoking passenger are liable, whether the driver is smoking or not. If the driver is smoking as well as the passenger, the driver could be fined twice.

Having the windows down, air conditioning on, or sunroof open will not evade the charge. The rules do not apply to convertible cars being driven with the hood down.

Since 2007 it has been illegal for under 18s to buy cigarettes. However, 17 year old drivers can smoke in their car if there is no-one else under the age of 18 in it.

E-Cigarettes are not included and smoking those with children in the car is not an offence in itself (unless it forms Careless Driving as outlined above).

If caught, the Police or other authorised person (e.g. Council Official) can impose a Fixed Penalty Notice of £50.00 which will be reduced to £30.00 if paid within 14 days. This increases to £200 if convicted at the Magistrates’ Court, which comes with additional costs such as prosecution costs, victim surcharge and the compulsory Criminal Courts Charge which is £150.00 on a guilty plea or £520.00 after summary trial.

Recent press coverage has suggested that Police chiefs will not actively target drivers, instead leaving it to Councils to enforce the new legislation.

If you are accused of this offence, or any other motoring offence, call our Road Traffic Team who will gladly discuss your options with you.

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