GH Gets Controversial Over The In Car Smoking Debate

Tuesday, 25. February 2014

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.

I listened very carefully as the debate over smoking in cars with children onboard rolled on. As someone whose father smoked like a chimney in his car whilst my brother, sister and I breathed in the disgusting smoke, when we were very young, I know how uncomfortable it can be.

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It was bad enough in the house but in the confined space of a Morris 8 it was very uncomfortable and very selfish although I accept that at the time he didn’t know the potential harm he was doing. Fast forward to the 21st century and the fact that cigarette packs tell you that smoking kills I find it hard to come up with an argument for not banning smoking in cars that are carrying children.

It is already illegal for drivers of company vehicles to smoke in their cars, vans and trucks so I couldn’t understand the ‘impossible to police’ argument as there are already legally enforceable laws banning smoking. If laws were only introduced if they were easy to enforce we would have very few laws on the statute book so like most people I agree with the ban and that we shouldn’t simply rely upon the responsibility of parents.

Lets face it if parents were responsible we wouldn’t be considering the new law in the first place to protect children, it would be unnecessary. It is illegal to batter kids even in the parent’s own home but virtually impossible to enforce, unless a child is taken to hospital and the police alerted so the ‘unenforceable’ argument doesn’t wash as a reason not to pass the law.

If parents light up in the car their babies and children can’t simply scramble out of their childseat or babyseat, climb out of the car and continue their journey on foot (or crawling) to avoid the smoke that they don’t know is harming them in the first place. So it now looks like the law will have grudging approval but how serious are those that say they are in favour?

On the 4th October last year, in an old blog posting, I revealed that a Canadian company had developed an App that allowed anyone with a smartphone to photograph cars that are illegally parked which would be date and time stamped, located by GPS and with the use of plate recognition, the driver of the car identified.

This information would be forwarded to the local authority for a ticket to be issued, using the information captured by the app to convict the miscreant. Once convicted the person providing the information will receive part of the fine imposed. This apparently works in Canada whilst in the US there is a similar app used to convict anyone parking in a disabled parking space.

But could and should it be extended to cover other crimes such as driving without a seatbelt fastened, using a mobile phone or smoking in a car with children onboard? I’m sure that there are passionate people out there that would provide the evidence through a purpose created app for no fee. So if enforcement is the problem is this the direction we should be moving in? I would welcome your thoughts – without the expletives! By Graham Hill

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