Smoking in car with minor against the law
New law takes effect in 2008
Motorists will have to do more than fasten their seat belt in 2008 if they want to stay on the right side of the law.
On January 1, California’s new “smoke-free cars with minors” law (SB 7) took effect.
“This is a secondary law,” said California Highway Patrol Public Relations Officer Jason Bronson. “We won’t be stopping people because someone looks young and we see smoke in the car. But if we pull you over for another infraction and determine you have been smoking in the vehicle with a minor present, you will be cited.”
The law, which prohibits smoking in cars when youth under the age of 18-years-old are present, regardless of whether the car is stationary or moving, gives California the most comprehensive smoke-free car law in the nation, according to the bill’s author Senator Jenny Oropeza (D-Long Beach).
“The long-term health benefits from this new law can only be positive for the well being of our children,” Oropeza stated in a recent press release. “Reducing disease, from asthma to lung cancer, simply is the right thing to do.”
Oropeza’s measure, Senate Bill 7, imposes a $100 fine on drivers and passengers cited for smoking in a car with another person aged 17 or younger.
Protecting non-smokers and cleaning up the environment have long been priorities for Oropeza, a cancer survivor. Enacted a year ago, was AB 2067, Oropeza’s measure banning smoking in common-use areas of covered parking lots and adjacent stairwells, lobbies, lounges, waiting areas, elevators and restrooms.
Gov. Schwarzenegger, despite being a well-known cigar smoker, signed both AB 2067 and SB7. Both measures were supported by numerous health groups.
Glenn County public health officials praised the new law. County health officer, Dr. James Corona issued a statement that science is indisputable that smoking in cars poses series health risks. He also urged citizens of Glenn County to support the new law.
“For the past two decades, those of us living in Glenn County, and all of California have benefited from public health laws that protect our communities from tobacco and secondhand smoke,” Dr. Corona said. “This new law protecting youth from secondhand smoke in cars is an important and logical extension of that protection.”
Other traffic laws taking effect January 1 included an extension of the law requiring bicycles to be fully illuminated when being ridden upon a highway, a sidewalk or a bikeway and an extension to the tow policy for vehicles with false registration or phony tags.
The hands-free cell phone law and the law making it illegal for youth under 18 to use any cell phone, even hands free, will go into effect July 1.