23 June 2016
Think twice before you light up a cigarette the next time you drive.
Virginia is cracking down on smoking in a motor vehicle with young children around. As of July 1 it will be against the law to smoke in a vehicle, whether moving or at rest, if a child under age 8 is in the vehicle.
Breaking this law will be deemed a secondary offense, “which means we cannot initiate a traffic stop or take enforcement action unless there is some other criminal violation,” said Lt. Dave Wells of the Fluvanna County Sheriff’s Office.
The offense will be enforced much like seat belt violations, Wells said. “If a driver is stopped for another offense and they are smoking with a person younger than 8 in the vehicle, they can be ticketed,” he said. “The burden is on us to prove that the child is less than 8 years of age.”
Breaking the law will result in a civil penalty punished by a $100 fine which will be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Literary Fund, according to Virginia code.
People breaking the law will not be arrested but may receive a ticket, Wells said.