The smoking ban has been inforce for three days and there is evidence that many individuals and companies are confused about what it means for them and their fleets.
A new survey from www.vansunited.co.uk has found that almost half of van drivers (46%) knew nothing about the specific rules regarding commercial vehicles. Only 4% knew that they faced a £1,000 fine for failing to display non-smoking signs in their vehicles and almost half (49%) have said that received little or no information about the changes from their employers.
Currently 32% of van drivers smoke (29% in their vans) and 40% allow colleagues to smoke in their vehicles. Under the new laws;
- Employees who have a company vehicle may not smoke while carrying colleagues for work
- Drivers will not be allowed to smoke in a company vehicle if it is used by more than one employee, for example pool cars, even if they don’t use it at the same time.
- Employees sharing a pool car will not be allowed to smoke in the vehicle, even if all the users of the vehicle are heavy smokers
- A shared company vehicle is exempt from the ban if it is a convertible – but only when the roof is open.
- Vehicles require at least one Department of Health no-smoking sign to be visible when people enter the vehicle.
- A fixed penalty of £50 will hit drivers who break the law and companies will have to pay £200 if they fail to display non-smoking signs.
- Fines for employers who fail or do not prevent smoking in vehicles can reach up to £2,500.
More information is available at www.smokefreeendland.co.uk. With evidence from Monash Accident Research Centre in Australia (IN: Fleetnews) finding that smoking in cars is as dangerous as other in car distractions, it will be interesting to see whether the ban has a sizeable impact in road casualties during the course of work.