Action to stub out smoking in taxis

Liverpool City Council’s Licensing Enforcement Officers have this year issued 98 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) to taxi drivers smoking in their vehicles.

It has been an offence to smoke (in a smoke free place) since the introduction of the Health Act 2006, and the Council has made an extra effort this year to clampdown on the illegal practice in licensed vehicles.

Most of the drivers who have had fixed penalty notices issued to them, either directly or by post, paid within 15 days in order to take advantage of the reduction in cost from £50 to £30.

If the penalty is not paid within 29 days of the offence, then a court summons is issued.

Two Sefton Private Hire drivers who chose to ignore the FPN’s where recently summonsed to court.

Both drivers were fined £200, with £150 costs and an £80 victim surcharge – the total payable for each driver was £430.

Liverpool Licensing Authority would like to remind all licensed drivers who smoke, that it is an offence to smoke in a licenced vehicle at any time – this includes when the driver is not working and using the vehicle in a personal capacity.

Additional patrols will be in operation over the busy Christmas period to ensure this law is being observed to protect customers.

Councillor Harry Doyle, Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing & Culture, said: “Second-hand smoke is a known killer and major contributor to people developing lung cancer.

“Liverpool led the way in getting the law passed on banning smoking in public places and I’m glad our Licensing Team is keeping the momentum up by educating drivers and enforcing the law so our taxis are free of smoke too.

“Tens of thousands of people across the city will be using a taxi over the next fortnight at what is the busiest time of the year and our team will be working hard to ensure it’s a clean ride all the way.

“This is a key part of our commitment to improve our neighbourhoods and making them better areas to live for our residents.”

Liverpool Director of Public Health, Professor Matthew Ashton, added: “The tough action our licensing team are taking is incredibly important.

“There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke. It contains carcinogens and is linked with asthma and respiratory infections. Furthermore children are more susceptible to the health impact of second-hand smoke as their airways are smaller, they breathe more quickly than adults and they are less able to remove themselves from smoking environments.

“Everybody has a right to breathe clean air and this intervention is one example of how we are working to make this possible for everybody living and visiting Liverpool.”

Liverpool Waterfront