The handheld cell phone ban was not the only vehicle law to come into effect on January 1, 2008.  The New Year also brought an automobile smoking ban law that probits smoking while driving with  anybody in the under the age of 18.

Smoking in an automobile while a youth is inside can earn the smoker up to a $100 fine.

According to the California Department of Public Health, which runs Tobacco Free California, California has become the third state after Arkansas and Louisiana to ban smoking in automobiles carrying minors.    This ban intends to protect children from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke when they are riding as passengers in an automobile.

Stanford University has done a study that clearly shows the harmfulness of secondhand smoke when an automobile driver smokes inside his or her car, even with the car window left open.  The demonstration uses the Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index to determine the quality of the air inside the car when the car driver is smoking.  By using sensors in both the front seat and the back seat of the automobile, they show that the dangerous secondhand smoke seeps throughout the whole car.

The EPA measures air quality by the amount of “fine particulates” in the air, which is what secondhand smoke contains.  When concentrated within an automobile, the amount of fine particulates in the air surpasses the “Hazardous” air quality in as short as ten seconds.  As a comparison, the scientist measures the air quality around them as they sit in a sea of cars spewing car exhaust in Los Angeles County, and the air quality stays well within good to moderate range.

According to the study, the secondhand smoke from the car driver or front car passenger pools in the back seat, where the children are usually seated.  This is especially dangerous because as children, they breathe in more air than adults, which means they are breathing in more of the harmful “fine particulates” in the smoke.  Since children are still developing, this can lead to children developing asthma, among other health problems.

Smoking, like cell phones, can be a distraction while a car driver is operating his or her automobile.  Taking a few seconds to light a cigarette can take an automobile driver’s eyes off the road and his hands off the wheel, which can increase the risk of a car accident occurring.  Inattention to the road plus the dangers of secondhand smoke for the automobile driver and his passengers are good reasons to not smoke while driving your car.

Our car accident lawyers encourage other car drivers to decrease the number of distractions while driving, which includes smoking, so that they can pay attention to the road.  Not smoking will also decrease the amount of secondhand smoke that a minor breathes in when he or she is a passenger in an automobile, and that is something that we wholeheartedly support.

Call us now at 1-858-551-2090 or click here for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney after you get into a car accident and find out how we can help you.  We speak English and Spanish, and we look forward to providing advice for your case.  No fee if no recovery.

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