Police roadblocks are being set up to catch drivers who are breaking the law – by smoking at the wheel of their company vehicle.
The law made it illegal ito smoke n all vehicles used primarily for business purposes by more than one personPhoto: ALAMY
By Martin Evans7:00AM GMT 02 Mar 2011
Council wardens and Essex Police will carry out random inspections across the county to look for evidence of illicit cigarette use.
They will even hunt for cigarette butts in the ashtrays and smell the air inside the vehicles in order to clamp down on the outlawed practice.
Workers were banned from smoking in their company cars as part of the Health Act introduced in 2006.
The law made it illegal in all vehicles used primarily for business purposes by more than one person.
Anyone caught breaking the law faces a £50 fixed penalty fine or a possible court conviction, which carries a £200 fine.
The culprits’ employers will also be informed and also be heavily fined.
Chris Kitchen, acting head of environmental services at Tendring District Council in Essex said: “Police together with council officers will be stopping business vehicles and public transport vehicles on the highway.
"We have noticed that people are smoking in commercial vehicles where in fact it's banned and we will be looking for evidence that people have been smoking.
He added: "We will be looking for ashtrays and whether the vehicle smells of smoke."
Ian Wilkins, environmental officer at Tendring District Council, explained that the scheme was intended to raise awareness of the law.
He said: "When the new legislation came into force on July 1 2007, it became illegal to smoke in virtually all enclosed public places and public and work vehicles.
"I think it is fair to say that most people understood the rules when it came to public buildings, but there was some confusion over the rules about smoking in vehicles.
"We will use the month of March to carry out inspections, offer advice and generally try and make sure people are aware of and compliant with the legislation.
"This is primarily about raising awareness but, if we feel the case is appropriate, we will take action where contraventions are observed."
The scheme which is being carried out throughout March has been organised to coincide with National No Smoking Day which takes place on March 9.