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CONSULTATION PAPER ON
SMOKING IN TAXIS



October 1999
Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
Eland House
Bressenden Place
London SW1E 5DU
Telephone 0171 890 3000
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FOREWORD

This consultation document about a possible change in the law on smoking in taxis is issued as a result of an undertaking given to Parliament during the passage of the Greater London Authority Bill.

The document aims to set out clearly and fairly all the relevant arguments, on both sides, so that people can consider them and let us know their views.

The issues involved in any legislation would be complex, and I know that there are some strong feelings about the subject. It has been made clear in Parliament, for example, that many London taxi drivers would like to be able to declare their vehicles as "non-smoking". Of course, the issue goes beyond London and other points of view have also been expressed. That is why we felt it only right to consult, so that all concerned could have their say.

I look forward to receiving views on the various issues raised in this consultation document. My Ministerial colleagues and I will consider very carefully all the responses we receive.


Keith Hill

    Introduction

  1. This consultation paper seeks views on possible legislation about smoking in taxis. The paper outlines the background to the issue, and then sets out what appear to the Government to be the various options and the arguments for and against them. It invites comments and suggestions on the way ahead.

  2. The consultation paper applies to England and Wales, since in Scotland taxi legislation such as this is a matter for the Scottish Parliament, and Northern Ireland has its own taxi legislation.

  3. Any legislation would of course be dependent upon the availability of Parliamentary time.

    Background

  4. At present, it is permissible for passengers to smoke in taxis. The Public Carriage Office (PCO), which regulates the London taxi trade, has no statutory power to ban smoking; and similarly local authorities (district councils and unitary authorities) which regulate taxis in the rest of England and Wales have no power to ban smoking by passengers. (Local authorities outside London have the power to make bye-laws to prohibit taxi drivers from smoking, but that power does not extend to the behaviour of passengers.)

  5. It follows that a taxi driver can request a passenger not to smoke, but cannot require a passenger not to do so. Taxi hirings are subject in law to the principle of 'compellability', whereby a taxi driver who has indicated that the taxi is for hire is, broadly speaking, required to accept a hiring for a journey within a specified distance. (In London, that distance is six miles from the point of hiring or 20 miles from Heathrow Airport, if the destination is within the Metropolitan Police District. Elsewhere it is the locally 'prescribed distance', which is typically the area of the local licensing authority, but may in some cases be only a part of that area.) The fact that a passenger is smoking is not a legally valid ground for a taxi driver to refuse a hiring, or to terminate a hiring once it has been made.

  6. In London, some taxi drivers display in their vehicles a small sign saying 'thank you for not smoking'. That sign is approved by the PCO under the 'Metropolitan Conditions of Fitness' (the criteria set by the PCO for the licensing of London taxis), but its display does not legally require a passenger not to smoke; it is merely a request to the passenger not to do so. It is for the taxi driver to decide whether to display such a sign, and it is for the passenger to decide whether to follow the request. The PCO is not aware that such requests are disregarded.

  7. Recently, it has been suggested that the law should be changed, so that a ban on smoking by passengers in taxis would be possible. This was argued particularly strongly during the passage through Parliament of the Greater London Authority Bill. Ministers undertook to consult on the issue, with a view to bringing forward legislation. This consultation paper is to fulfil that undertaking.

    The Key Options

  8. The key options are either to maintain the present voluntary approach, or to legislate. Any legislation could adopt one of several approaches, as outlined in the rest of this consultation paper.

    Public Attitudes and Government Policies

  9. The consultation paper is issued at a time when attitudes to smoking, and particularly to smoking in public places and in the workplace, have been changing. It is now usual for smoking either to be banned on public transport, or to be restricted (for example to particular carriages on a train). It is also increasingly common for employers to operate a no-smoking policy in the workplace, or to restrict smoking to certain rooms or areas.

  10. The Government's 1998 White Paper on tobacco - 'Smoking Kills' - outlined the well-known risks of both active and passive smoking. It also set out the action being taken by the Government on smoking in public places, and on smoking at work, to improve protection of the welfare of all employees. More recently, the Health and Safety Executive has issued a consultative document 'Proposal For An Approved Code Of Practice On Passive Smoking At Work'.

  11. A taxi can be seen as a public place for the passengers (and even if a passenger smokes alone in a taxi, the effects in terms of smoke and cigarette ends may be felt by people who hire the taxi subsequently). But more especially the taxi can also be seen as the workplace for the driver, who has to travel in the vehicle throughout the working day, and probably on the way to and from home as well. On either basis, it could be argued that there is a case for legislation on smoking in taxis, to be considered alongside the case for not undertaking fresh legislation, maintaining instead the present voluntary approach.

    An Outright Ban? Or Driver Choice?

  12. Some might argue for a straightforward statutory ban on smoking in taxis. But wherever possible the Government prefers to adopt the principle of choice. In the case of taxis it could be argued that the driver of the taxi should have a choice as to whether the vehicle should or should not be 'non-smoking'. This is consistent with the taxi being seen as the driver's place of work. Some taxi drivers might wish to smoke themselves and would be willing for their passengers to do so; but other drivers might not.

  13. The two options which are set out in the rest of this consultation paper are therefore put forward on the basis that it would be the driver who would be able to choose whether to declare the vehicle as a non-smoking taxi. (It is proposed that any power should be with the driver rather than the proprietor of the vehicle; but that is a particular point on which consultation responses are invited.)

  14. It will be seen that the particular circumstances of taxis do raise some difficult issues, in respect of any restrictions on smoking. People responding to this consultation paper, especially if they come from the taxi trade, may therefore wish to indicate how far the present voluntary approach is successful. Do passengers often refuse to respect a request not to smoke?

    Option 1: A Broad Approach:
    No Smoking In A 'Non-Smoking' Taxi At Any Time During The Journey

  15. In some ways, the simplest option could be seen as simply to make it a criminal offence to smoke at any time in a taxi which has been declared non-smoking, and which carries the appropriate notices. (The question of what signs are needed to show that a taxi is non-smoking is discussed below.) It could be argued that everybody would then know where they stand; smoking would be banned in the taxi, and anybody who smoked could be charged with an offence.

  16. But in practice matters might not be so straightforward. Such an approach could raise problems of principle, and problems of enforcement and of evidence. These problems would arise most acutely if a passenger was not smoking when the taxi was hired, but lit up during the journey. The following difficulties could then arise:

    (i) Enforcement by the taxi driver. Should the driver have the right to eject the passenger from the taxi? But what if the passenger refuses to leave? It would raise important issues of principle to legislate to give taxi drivers the right to use force against a passenger. And in practical terms, who is to decide what is reasonable force? Is the offence of smoking so serious as to justify a right to use force?

    (ii) Enforcement by the police. Alternatively, the legislation could give the taxi driver the right to drive to a police station, where police officers could take action. But that would raise difficult issues of principle in passengers being detained against their will in a taxi, and driven off in a direction which might be quite different from their desired destination. (What if a passenger is taken ill while so detained?)

    (iii) Evidence. In both cases, there seems likely to be a problem of evidence. It would be very easy for smokers to throw out of the window the cigarette they have been smoking, for example on the journey to a police station. The issue is very likely to come down to the passenger's word against the taxi driver's. Will the police and the Crown Prosecution Service find it easy to take forward prosecutions on that basis? Will the courts find it easy to convict? Is there a risk of the law falling into disrepute because of the difficulty of enforcing it?

    (iv) Safety. If the taxi driver is given the right to eject a passenger, there may be issues of safety, even if the passenger leaves the taxi without the use of force. What if the passenger is a young woman, going home late at night, possibly inebriated, who is turned out of a taxi in a lonely spot far from home? What if the passenger is elderly or disabled? Such people could well be at risk in such circumstances. If the law were to require the taxi driver to behave reasonably, how is reasonableness to be judged? If the abandoned passenger is then mugged, or otherwise attacked, could he or she hold the taxi driver legally responsible? If the taxi driver takes the passenger to the police, are they to be responsible for getting the passenger home? At whose expense?

    There may also be issues of driver safety. A passenger who is told to leave a taxi might become violent and attack the driver, even if the driver has not used force, or even threatened to do so. Will drivers be willing to run such a risk? The risk might be all the greater if there are several passengers.

    (v) Fares. A smaller point, but what obligation to pay a fare will there be in such circumstances? If the journey is terminated before the destination, should the passenger be obliged to pay the fare for the distance covered? What are the practical chances of the driver being able to collect it? If the passenger is driven to a police station, would the passenger have to pay the fare?

  17. These problems arise to a large extent because of the specific circumstances of a taxi hiring. In other forms of public transport there will very probably be witnesses, for example other passengers, who may also bring pressure to bear on an offender to stop smoking. In a taxi, it is very possible that there will only be a passenger and a driver, and thus the problem of one person's word against another's. That problem is most severe in the case where a passenger lights up during a journey.

  18. It might be argued that it was too heavy-handed to make smoking in a non-smoking taxi a criminal offence. On that basis the driver would merely be given the right to terminate the hiring (in other words, the 'compellability' obligation would be ended) if a passenger smoked in a non-smoking taxi. Respondents may wish to comment on that possibility. However, the other issues - including problems of evidence, and how a smoking passenger should be made to leave a non-smoking taxi, would appear to remain.

    Option 2: A More Restricted Approach:
    Driver's Right To Refuse Smoker At The Point Of Hiring

  19. It could be argued that a ban on smoking at any time during the journey raises undue problems of principle and practice in the case of a passenger who lights up during a journey. It therefore seems appropriate to outline a more limited approach. Under this option a driver would not have the right to terminate a hiring if the passenger lit up once the hiring had started. But the driver would have the statutory right to refuse a hiring at the outset, on the grounds that the would-be passenger was smoking at the time the taxi was hailed.

  20. The merit of this approach would be that it would recognise the difficulties of the comprehensive approach, and would not entail legislation that might be particularly difficult to enforce. It would rely on a voluntary approach once the journey had started. But the fact that the taxi would have been clearly signed at the outset as 'non smoking' might strengthen that voluntary approach; and there would be legislation in place applying to the point of hiring. Such legislation would be a clear and significant step beyond the present position.

  21. On the other hand, such an approach might be criticised as insubstantial. Determined smokers might learn that they only had to avoid smoking when actually hailing a taxi, and that they could then light up with impunity once the journey had started. And not all the problems of evidence might be solved; there might still be disputes as to whether or not a person was smoking when hailing a taxi, and there might still be a problem of lack of witnesses (though possibly less so than with smoking during a journey, since a hailing would usually be on the street). It is possible to envisage disputes as to whether a would-be passenger was actually smoking, or whether the taxi driver (once having stopped and had a look at the passenger) had refused him or her for other reasons - perhaps because he or she was a member of an ethnic minority.

    'Compellability'

  22. 'Compellability' (as outlined in paragraph 5 above) has long been seen as a key principle of taxi law. It gives passengers an important degree of confidence that they will be taken where they want to go without scope for dispute. It therefore seems right to emphasise that both the proposals outlined above would entail a departure from the compellability principle. Indeed, it is significant that they would be the first express provisions on the face of the statute book for a departure from compellability.

  23. Option 1 would give the driver of a non-smoking taxi the right to terminate during the journey the obligation to take a passenger to his or her destination, if the passenger lit up. (This would be the case whether or not smoking was a criminal offence, as discussed in paragraph 16 above.) Option 2 would allow the driver to be released from the compellability obligation at the outset, on the grounds that the would-be passenger was smoking. (It is not envisaged that option 1 would release the driver from accepting the hiring in this way. But thereafter smoking would be a ground for cancelling it.)

  24. People responding to this consultation document may wish to indicate how much significance they attach to the departure from the compellability principle.

    Signing

  25. Under either option, it would be necessary to devise a clear (presumably illuminated) and permanent sign designating a taxi as 'non smoking', in such a way that it could be seen plainly from the outside - for example when the taxi was being hailed. It would seem undesirable for a driver to be able to switch such a sign off and on according to whether he or she liked the look of the person with a cigarette who was hailing them. But the issue of taxis used by two or more different drivers, who might have different views on smoking, would need to be addressed. There would also be the question of signing within the vehicle; different considerations would apply as between Option 1 and Option 2.

    What If The Driver Smokes In A Non-Smoking Vehicle?

  26. Hitherto the discussion in this paper and publicly has been about passengers being prevented from smoking. But there are also issues about smoking by drivers. What should be the legal position if a driver smokes in a non-smoking taxi? Some passengers might be particularly averse to tobacco smoke and might therefore want to travel in a taxi which they could be certain was completely free of smoke. Should they have sanctions if the driver smokes?

  27. This raises the problem of evidence noted above. More especially, there does not seem any realistic prospect of requiring the driver to leave the taxi, or going to a police station. If the 'non-smoking' designation is to be maintained, for the benefit of the passenger, the passenger's only recourse would seem to be to report the driver to the licensing authority (the PCO in London, the local authority elsewhere) for any disciplinary action they may wish to take. (It has been noted in paragraph 4 above that local authorities already have the power to ban drivers from smoking, so in one sense this is not a new issue.)

    Private Hire Vehicles

  28. The public debate has also hitherto been only about taxis; but some of the same issues could be seen as arising in respect of private hire vehicles (PHVs), or 'minicabs' as they are often known.

  29. However, there is one important difference between taxis and PHVs. The key legal point about a PHV is that it is not hired on the street, directly with the driver. The booking has to be made through an operator. So it can be made clear to the would-be passenger whether the vehicle is non-smoking; and passengers who want to smoke can ask for a PHV where that is allowed. Because of this, the Government is inclined not to draw PHVs into any possible legislation. But there is still the question of someone who lights up during a journey in a non-smoking PHV.

    Summary And Conclusions

  30. This consultation paper has outlined the issues surrounding legislation to prevent smoking in taxis. It has proposed that any such legislation should be based on the principle of choice by the driver as to whether any particular taxi should be declared as 'non-smoking'.

  31. The paper has put forward two main options for legislation: one, a general approach, would involve the driver's being able to ban smoking at any point in the journey; the other, a more restricted approach, would apply only at the point of hiring, when a driver would be able to refuse a hiring because the would-be passenger was smoking.

  32. The consultation paper has sought to set out both the advantages and the difficulties associated with each option. Some significant difficulties have been identified, particularly difficulties of enforcement and evidence, and particularly with the more general option. In neither case are the difficulties put forward as being necessarily decisive; but it seemed right to identify them clearly, in the interests of informed debate and effective consultation.

    Questions

  33. The questions which follow are intended to summarise the key issues arising from this paper. We would welcome responses to them as well as any general comments on the paper. If you wish to do so, please state clearly the question number to which you are replying.

    Q1. Should there be any legislation at all? Or would it be best to make no change, maintaining the present voluntary approach?

    Q2. If you believe that there should be legislation, what are your reasons?

    Q3. Are you aware of any evidence that the voluntary approach is not working?

    Q4. If you have answered 'yes' to question 3, can you give details?

    Q5. If you believe that there should be legislation, should the new law provide for a blanket ban on smoking in taxis? (See paragraph 12)

    Q6. If you have answered 'yes' to question 5, what are your reasons?

    Q7. If you believe that there should be legislation, but have answered 'no' to question 5, do you agree with option 1 (a ban on smoking at any time in a taxi designated by the driver as non-smoking)? (See paragraphs 15-18)

    Q8. If you have answered 'yes' to question 7, what are your reasons?

    Q9. Whether or not you agree with option 1, what are your views on the issues raised in paragraphs 15 and 16:

    (i) should smoking in a non-smoking taxi be a criminal offence?

    (ii) what considerations should be taken into account with regard to the safety of passengers?

    (iii) how could problems of a lack of evidence (if, say, the passenger has thrown the cigarette out of the window and denies having smoked) be overcome?

    (iv) should the driver of a non-smoking taxi have the right to eject any passenger who starts smoking and refuses to stop?

    (v) what should the driver do if such passengers refuse to get out of the taxi? Should the driver be entitled to use force?

    (vi) should the driver have the legal right to summon a constable to eject the passenger?

    (vii) should the driver have the legal right to drive to a police station so that the police will deal with the offending passenger?

    (viii) if the passenger has been driven to a police station, what fare would the passenger be required to pay?

    (ix) if the police do not take action, should the passenger have any right of redress?

    Q.10 If you do not agree with option 1, what are your reasons?

    Q.11 Do you agree with option 2, which would give the driver the right to refuse a smoker at the point of hiring but would have to rely on a voluntary approach once the journey had begun? (See paragraphs 19-21)

    Q.12 If you have answered 'yes' to question 11, why do you favour this option?

    Q.13 Would you prefer another solution apart from those considered in this paper (including retaining the present voluntary approach)? If so, what?

    Q.14 Do you consider that the taxi proprietor who is not the driver should have any say in whether his or her vehicle is designated 'non-smoking? Or should the decision be solely for the driver, whether or not he or she is the proprietor? (See paragraph 13)

    Q15. Do you consider that the long-standing principle of 'compellability' should be modified? (See paragraphs 5 and 22-24)

    Q.16 Do you have any other comments to make on 'compellability'?

    Q.17 How would a non-smoking taxi best be signed as such? (See paragraph 25)

    Q.18 How should the designation of a taxi as non-smoking be arranged for drivers who share a taxi and work shifts when one of them wants to ban smoking and another does not?

    Q.19 Should there be a sanction against a taxi driver who smokes in a non-smoking vehicle? If so, what?

    Q.20 How can a driver of a non-smoking PHV be protected against someone who starts smoking during a journey? (See paragraphs 28 and 29)

    Comments

  34. As mentioned in paragraph 33, comments are invited on any of the issues raised in this document, as well as responses to the specific questions above. Copies of the consultation document are being sent initially to the organisations and individuals listed in Annex A, but comments from any other interested organisations or individuals would also be welcome. Comments should be sent to:

    John Hampton Esq
    Zone 3/12
    DETR
    Great Minster House
    76 Marsham Street
    LONDON, SW1P 4DR

    by 8 December 1999.

    Alternatively, comments can be sent to Mr Hampton by fax (0171-676 2279) or
    by e-mail to TAXIS@detr.gsi.gov.uk.

  35. Further copies of the consultation document may be obtained from DETR free literature at Wetherby (see inside cover for address; tel: 0870 1226 236; fax: 0870 1226 237) or from the DETR web site at: http://www.detr.gov.uk. Please address any queries to Mr Hampton at the address above (Tel: 0171 676 2293).

  36. It will be assumed that respondents accept that the contents of their responses may be made public unless they indicate that all or part should be regarded as confidential. Copies of responses will be made available for public inspection in the DETR library.

    Regulatory Impact

  37. A draft Regulatory Impact Assessment is at Annex B.

    Next steps

  38. Ministers will make an announcement following consideration of the comments.


DETR
October 1999

ANNEX A

ANNEX A
INITIAL CONSULTATION LIST

ADSS, Social Services Department
AEEU
Age Concern England
ARP Over 50
ASH
Association for Non Smokers' Rights
Association of Chief Police Officers
Association of Community Health Councils for England and Wales
Association of County Councils
Association of Justices' Chief Executives
Association of London Government
Association of Magisterial Officers
Association of Metropolitan Authorities
British Heart Foundation
British Hospitality Association
British Incoming Tour Operators' Association
British Lung Foundation
British Medical Association
British Tourist Authority
Cancer Research Campaign
Central London Partnership
Citygate Westminster
Commission for Racial Equality
Computer Cab Co. Ltd
Coronary Prevention Group
Council for Travel and Tourism
Criminal Policy Division, Lord Chancellor's Department
Crown Prosecution Service
Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee
Elite Car & Chauffeur Services
English Tourism Council
Fawcett Society
Federation of PHVs
Federation of Small Businesses
FOREST
General Medical Council
GLAD
Head of Health & Environment, G.M.B. HQ
Health and Safety Executive
Help The Aged
House of Commons Health Committee
Justices' Clerks Society
Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association
Licensing Review
LJ Wedding Cars
Local Government Association
London Cab Drivers' Club Ltd
London First
London Private Hire Car Association Ltd
London Taxi Board
London Tourist Board
Medical Research Council
Medical Women's International Association
Mothers' Union
National Association of Health Authorities & Trusts
National Association of Taxi and Private Hire Licensing and Enforcement Officers
National Asthma Campaign
National Council for Civil Liberties
National Private Hire Association
National Society for Clean Air
National Taxi Association
Private Hire & Courier
Private Hire Board
Private Hire Car Association
Public Carriage Office
QUIT
Radio Taxis
Royal Association for Disability & Rehabilitation
Royal Society of Health
Taxi Newspaper
The Chief Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate, Inner London Magistrates' Courts Service
The Consumers' Association
The London Taxi Times
The Magistrates' Association
The Suzy Lamplugh Trust
Tobacco Maunfacturers' Association
Trades Union Congress
Transmode Management Services
Transport and General Workers Union
UNISON
Welsh Local Government Association
Women's Health
Women's National Commission
Women's Nationwide Cancer Control Campaign
 


DETR
October 1999

ANNEX B

ANNEX B
DRAFT REGULATORY IMPACT ASSESSMENT

    Issue and objective

  1. The primary issue is whether to give a taxi driver the statutory right to designate his or her vehicle as a non-smoking vehicle. This would be in line with the recommendations on smoking in the Government's White Paper on Tobacco: Smoking Kills issued in December 1998. The main issues which would arise from a regulatory approach are outlined in the main text of this document. The objective of any regulations, if it were decided to proceed with legislation after the responses to the consultation had been considered, would be to allow a taxi driver to make his or her vehicle smoke-free. However, the document also envisages a continuation of the present, voluntary approach.

    Risk assessment

  2. At present a taxi driver cannot refuse a hiring on the grounds of smoking by a passenger; under current rules he or she is compelled to continue with the journey. The driver may request a passenger not to smoke on a voluntary basis, but there is no sanction against a passenger smoking. Smoking in a taxi thereby poses a risk to the health of drivers and passengers, not least from the effects of passive smoking. Several hundred people a year in the UK are estimated to die from lung cancer brought about by passive smoking. Additionally, passive smoking almost certainly contributes to deaths from heart disease and can exacerbate certain diseases, such as asthma and chronic bronchitis.

  3. Because the vehicle is the taxi driver's place of work, having to put up with passengers who smoke can be considered unfair when compared to other modes of transport where smoking is banned. But a sanction to ban smoking could also give rise to other risks, particularly with regard to the personal safety of both drivers and passengers, as outlined in the main text of this document.

    Options

  4. Three options have been considered: (1) to continue with voluntary arrangements, as at present; (2) to make smoking in a non-smoking taxi a criminal offence, or (3) to change the law on 'compellability' to enable a driver of a 'non-smoking' taxi to refuse a would-be passenger on the grounds that he or she was smoking at the point of pick-up.

    Continue with voluntary ban

  5. A taxi driver can request a passenger not to smoke, but cannot require a passenger not to do so. Some taxi drivers display a small sign saying 'thank you for not smoking'. There is no evidence available that passengers, at least for the most part, do not comply with this request. However, respondents are asked to indicate how far the voluntary approach is successful and whether passengers often refuse to respect a request not to smoke.

    Make smoking in a non-smoking taxi a criminal offence

  6. Smoking would be banned in a taxi, and anybody who smoked could be charged with a criminal offence. This would appear a simple option, but there would clearly be enforcement difficulties, principally because of a lack of witnesses, and safety issues, both for the driver, for example when trying to evict a group of passengers who started smoking in the vehicle, and the vulnerable passenger, for example when being evicted from the vehicle for smoking in the middle of the night in a deserted area of which they have no knowledge. Such difficulties would inevitably lead to evidential problems as to whether there was a case to be pursued through the courts.

    Change the law on 'compellability'

  7. This would be a more limited approach to give the driver the statutory right to refuse a hiring at the outset on the grounds that the would-be passenger was smoking at the time the taxi was hailed. This would entail a voluntary approach once the journey had started (as at present). Determined smokers would soon learn that they only had to avoid smoking when actually hailing a taxi and new issues would be raised by the relaxing of the 'compellability' rules, as discussed in the main text of the document.

    Benefits

  8. The benefits of a regulatory approach would principally be to the health, safety and welfare of society; there would be some cost savings to employers, although the majority of taxi drivers are self employed. A driver who wanted to work in a smoke-free environment would have a greater chance of being able to do so if the passenger who smoked was committing a criminal offence or if the driver was not 'compelled' to take any passenger who was smoking at the point of hire. Similarly, passengers, such as asthmatics, who wanted to be certain that they could travel in a smoke-free environment with no possibility of residual smoke, would be able to do so.

    Business sectors affected

  9. Principally small businesses, but there are some large taxi firms.

    Compliance costs

  10. These are expected to be low - for example the costs of a notice and signs inside and outside the taxi. There would a reduction to the taxi driver of possible patronage, although this would arise from the driver's own choice as to whether to declare the taxi 'non-smoking'. Passengers who wanted to smoke would suffer a reduction in the number of taxis available to them. Comments are invited on what these various costs might be.

    Impact on small businesses

  11. Although it is expected that the main impact would be on small businesses, that is to say on taxi drivers, the expected costs are small. It is hoped the responses to the consultation will enable a better understanding of what this impact might be. Preliminary discussions with the industry have shown that there is support for legislation amongst taxi drivers, but also that many taxi drivers report that the current voluntary approach is accepted by the great majority of their customers.

    Other costs

  12. Enforcement authorities are likely to become involved in disputes between drivers and passengers, especially as often there will be no witnesses, with associated costs. However, it is extremely difficult to gauge how many of these disputes there might be. If a new criminal offence were to be introduced, there would inevitably be increased involvement and costs for the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts. But again, it is difficult to estimate at this stage how many cases might be involved. Comments on these aspects would be welcome.

    Results of consultation

  13. To be completed after consultation, as appropriate.

    Summary and Recommendations

  14. To be completed after consultation, as appropriate.

    Enforcement, Sanctions, Monitoring and Review

  15. To be completed after consultation, as appropriate.
  16. A final Regulatory Impact Assessment may be necessary following the consultation, depending on what Ministers decide.


The Mirror
(London, UK)
13 October 1999

'BAN TAXI SMOKERS'

Smokers could be banned by law from lighting up in taxis.

Ministers are considering giving cabbies the legal power to make their cars cigarette-free.

Pressure for a ban has grown among London's black cab drivers, but new legislation could be imposed across England and Wales. Smokers would face a fine or jail.

Transport Minister Keith Hill announced talks with cabbies and passengers yesterday.

Shadow transport chief Bernard Jenkin said: "It's typical nanny- state Blairism." Simon Clarke, of smokers' pressure group FOREST, said: "It's over the top."


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