Taxi drivers worst workplace smokers

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Taxi drivers remain Derry’s worst offenders for smoking in the workplace, the ‘Journal can today reveal.

Derry City Council say of the 81 fixed penalty notices (FPN) issued between 2008 and 2012 for smoking in a smoke free place around two thirds have been handed out to taxi drivers.

Over the course of the last financial year, from April 2012 to the present, a total of 14 FPNs have been issued - and 13 of those have been to cab drivers.

Jane Gourley, Derry City Council’s Tobacco Control Officer says the local authority will continue to work with taxi drivers and the drivers of other vehicles in which smoking is prohibited to ensure that they are fully aware of the law.”

“However, smoking in any enclosed vehicle exposes all of the occupants to the damaging effects of second hand smoke and we will enforce the law to protect public health whenever necessary.

“The best way to avoid a fine is simply not to commit the offence. If you do need to smoke, always do so outside the vehicle, during a break,” she said.

The Tobacco Control Officer said anyone found smoking in a taxi is liable to receive a fixed penalty notice of £50 or a fine of up to £1,000 on conviction.

“If someone is observed smoking in a taxi the registered keeper of the vehicle is contacted and is expected to provide details as to who was driving at the time,” she said.

Smoke free legislation, designed to to protect both the public and employees from the harmful effects of second hand tobacco smoke, came into force in April 2007.