From the 1st of October 2015, the UK government has put in to force 2 new laws that are aimed at drivers. It’s important to know these rules, as not knowing and not abiding can lead to a financial loss for drivers depending on their car as a tool to make a living.
1. Smoking in cars with children
Generally PCO/PHV minicab drivers should not be smoking in their vehicle anyways as this has been the case since the ban of smoking in public and at work since July 1st 2007. The new rules apply to drivers who are using their personal vehicles. Driver will face a fine is they are caught smoking a cigarette if they have passengers on board who are under the age of 18. This rule will apply in England and Wales.
Drivers will be subject to a £50 fine, this fine can also apply to both driver and any passengers who choose to smoke in the vehicle while there is a passenger who is under the age of 18. However you may smoke in your vehicle if it is a convertible and the roof is down. Also for drivers who enjoy using their electric cigarettes and shisha pens, you’ll be glad to know that this new ban doesn’t affect you.
It makes sense to put this ban in place as we see a lot of drivers smoking carelessly in their vehicles while driving children around. This ban should also be further applied to people smoking outside places where there are children, such as schools and nurseries. Also as some posts on social media have suggested, a similar sort of ban should maybe be considered for pregnant females and their partners, or anyone who chooses to smoke close to a pregnant person.
2. Parking grace period extension
This is a useful new law that will benefit drivers. From the 1st of October 2015, if you park your vehicle in a private car park, where you have to pay and display; you will now get 10 minutes grace time after the time on your permit has expired or if free parking time has expired.
The current grace period is usually at the discretion of the parking attendants and the new laws only apply to private car parks, which are either private or council owned. On street parking grace periods are still at the discretion of the parking attendant.
I personally prefer not to pay and display, but instead use the app based parking which is available at many parking areas these days. Its simple, you sign up and when you park up you just use the app to pay with your card and then when it comes close to expiry time you get a text message reminding you and if you’re running late you can just continue to top up without having to return to your vehicle.