€100 fine if caught smoking in car with children
Adults who are found smoking in cars in which children are passengers are to face fines of €100, the Irish Independent has learned.
The long-awaited regulations to give effect to the legislation banning smoking in cars with children will be revealed today - one year after the law was passed.
The offence, to come into effect in two weeks, will be policed by gardaí.
Health Minister Leo Varadkar and Minister for Children James Reilly, who championed the measure, will formally launch the ban today.
If the fine is not paid, the case can be brought to court - with hefty penalties.
It comes in the wake of several studies showing the dangers to children who inhale second-hand smoke.
A child is defined as any person under 18 years of age.
The rules state:
The offence also applies where the smoker is themselves under 18 years of age.
The driver will be guilty of an offence even if the smoker is another adult passenger.
A defence exists where the person smoking reasonably believed that others present in the vehicle were over 18 years of age.
There are also defences for the driver if they can prove they were unable to stop the other person from smoking, because he or she did not wish to take any action which might compromise the safety of the passengers. They can also argue they made all reasonable efforts to stop the other person smoking.
Gardaí will be allowed to ask the driver to stop the car, and demand the name and address of any person who may be committing an offence. Where a person fails to stop the car, or to give a name and address, or provides false information, he or she will be guilty of an offence.