Bass Coast,

Smokers And Driving With Kids Costly

A female P-plate driver who threw a burning cigarette butt from her car on Bass Highway, Inverloch recently caught the eye of a Bass Coast Shire Council Litter Enforcement Officer.

The Officer then noticed there was a primary school aged boy in the back seat.

As of 1 April, changes to Victoria’s Tobacco Act 1987 make it an offence to smoke inside a vehicle where children under 18 years old are present.

Council referred the matter to Victoria Police who has powers to take enforcement action under the Tobacco Act.

The young driver is likely to receive a $234 penalty notice for the smoking offence, plus a $577 fine for littering her burning cigarette butt.

“The change in laws is aimed to motivate positive behaviour change – it’s not about wanting to fine people,” Mayor, Neil Rankine said.

“The fact is young children are usually unable to choose whether or not they can be in a particular person’s car.

“If people want to smoke, that’s fine, but smoking in an environment which can harm children is not acceptable.

“Smoking cigarettes within the confined environment of a vehicle has unacceptable health risks for non-smoking passengers, particularly under-age children.”

Bass Coast residents can help crack down on people who smoke with children under 18 years old in their car by reporting the offender’s vehicle registration and model to your local police.