The majority of company car drivers appear to be heeding recently introduced anti-smoking rules.
Statistics released this week by the Department of Health show that 98% of drivers were sticking to the law which bans smoking in their cars, with 84% displaying the necessary no smoking signs in their vehicles.
The figures come from 88,899 inspections of premises and vehicles.
Enforcement officers found that 97 per cent of premises were respecting the requirement to prohibit smoking in enclosed premises and 79 per cent were displaying the correct no-smoking signage.
Minister of State for Public Health, Dawn Primarolo, said: ‘When we introduced the smokefree law last month (July 1), we predicted that it would be largely self-enforcing based on experience elsewhere and the fact that three-quarters of the public supported the move. These figures confirm that, just as happened previously in Ireland then Scotland, England saw very high levels of compliance in the first few days. All the signs are that businesses and the public have taken the new law in their stride.’
During the first two weeks of inspections, it has only been necessary to issue one fixed penalty notice to an individual wilfully flouting the law by smoking in a smokefree place. Councils have instead ensured that businesses and individuals are given sufficient opportunity to comply with the law and have so far issued 142 written warnings following failure to prevent smoking (equivalent to 0.2% of premises inspected).
There were no court hearings.