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Smoking Ban in Cars: A Risk on the Road as well as Children’s Health

By Practice Development Leader, Personal Injury

As of 1st October smoking will be banned in cars carrying children in England. People found smoking in a car with children under 18 will face a fine of £50. A similar law already exists in Wales.

Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies named the passing of regulations to make smoking in cars carrying under-18s illegal “a significant victory for protecting children’s health from second-hand smoke.”

Over 700 senior doctors united in backing a legal ban in 2014. Though the detrimental effect on health was acknowledged the issue divided political parties, with Nick Clegg arguing calling the ban “profoundly illiberal”, with many questioning the practicality of enforcing the ban.

Driver Distractions Cost Lives

Alongside the landmark positive step for campaigners against smoking such as the British Lung Foundation, the Department of Health, and Asthma UK, there is little said of the grave distraction smoking can cause to drivers, therefore creating greater unnecessary risk on the road.

Though the Highway Code does not state smoking while driving as a specific offence, it is listed highly as a major distraction.

Studies have revealed clear evidence of smoking while driving increases the risk of a road traffic accident, negatively affecting drivers’ reaction times. According to road safety charity Brake, 22% of Road Traffic Accidents are caused by distracted drivers who didn’t have two hands free to focus on road safety. From October, the new Law will hopefully mean there are fewer motorists on the road distracted by cigarette smoking.

Slater and Gordon Lawyer Deborah Johnson said, "Whilst an important focus of this new law is the obvious benefit it will have on the health of children, there are obvious implications for road safety. Drivers will have two hands on the wheel with no risk of dropping a lit cigarette whilst driving.”

Deborah Johnson is a Senior Personal Injury Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK and the Chair of the Road Safety Charity Brake.

For more information or a free consultation about how to claim for road traffic accident injuries call freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we will call you.

Slater and Gordon are a leading personal injury law firm with 1,450 staff and offices in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Milton Keynes, Sheffield, Halifax, Newcastle, Wakefield, Merseyside, Cambridge and meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire and in Hull, Yorkshire.

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