Bill: Cops Can Stop You If You’re Smoking in a Car With Kids
If passed, the proposal would carry a $100 fine.
Beacon Hill officials donâ€™t want people lighting up with kids in the car.
In a bill going before the Joint Committee on Public Health on Tuesday, State Representative Paul R. Heroux, D-Attleboro, is asking legislators to consider banning smoking in peoplesâ€™ cars if there is a child on board. A violation of the proposed law would carry a $100 fine if passed, and the proposed legislation follows the footsteps of many other states, including California and Maine.
According to Herouxâ€™s filed legislation, police officers would be able to stop lawbreakers by pulling them over when they witness an infraction. An officer canâ€™t search or inspect a motor vehicle, its contents, the driver, or a passenger solely because of a violation, however.
The bill states that if implemented, in the first 90 days after becoming a law, police would simply hand out warnings rather than fines, so that drivers could become accustomed to the new rule. If caught, the citation would not be considered a moving violation so it wouldn’t harm a driverâ€™s record, according to the proposal. While Herouxâ€™s proposal specifies that a violation would only be made if the child in the car is in a car seat, some states fine any driver who smokes in a car with a person 16 or under.
According to the Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids, in 2007, the American Academy of Pediatrics adopted a resolution asking that state and local chapters call for changes in existing state laws to protect children from secondhand smoke exposure â€śby prohibiting smoking in any vehicle while a legal minor is in the vehicle.â€ť The campaign claims â€śthere is overwhelming evidence of the harms associated with exposure to secondhand smoke that is specific to children and specific to enclosed environments.â€ť
Herouxâ€™s bill is one of 23 related to drugs and tobacco being heard on Beacon Hill on Tuesday.
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2013/05/14/smoking-in-a-car-with-children/